A man dressed up as Santa Claus tragically fell to his death in a rooftop stunt gone wrong.

Prior to the official Christmas holiday, a husband and father died in a public Santa Claus stunt with his wife and children were in the crowd and witnessed his death. The tragedy took place in Chelyabinsk, Russia where the unidentified man was attempting to rappel down the side of a 24-story building. He seemingly lost his grip and plunged to the first floor overhang of the residential complex.

The entire stunt and fall was caught on camera and posted online. The man was dressed up in a red robe as the Russian version of Santa Claus, Grandfather Frost, or Ded Moroz. The legend states that the bearded man delivers gifts to well-behaved kids alongside his daughter.

Witnesses told reporters that they thought the fall was actually part of the stunt before onlookers discovered that it was a real fall.

"My son didn’t understand anything, others understood and they left in hysterics. All the parents, naturally, are in shock," one onlooker said. Another added, “Everyone was having fun, and no-one could even think this would happen. I thought until the last minute that it was some kind of dummy, that it was a prank. The festivities carried on. There was at first no suspicion that this was a tragedy.” A local resident shared that they have climbers rappel alongside the building regularly to clean the windows and there has never been an issue.

The building's residential management company staged the event and hired the unidentified stunt "experienced specialist." The company said in a statement, "Today’s holiday turned into a monstrous misfortune. An industrial climber dressed as Grandfather Frost [Santa Claus] fell while descending from his house and died. We will do everything in our power to help the police understand the reasons and never allow this to happen again.”

Russian reports stated that the stuntman mixed up his safety ropes and that authorities are investigating the incident, as they could cite safety violations.

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Gallery Credit: Jacklyn Krol