Easter mass at the Notre Dame Cathedral Basilica quickly turned into a frightening scene when a man fell off an upper level balcony to the ground below.

Witnesses said it looked as though the man was leaning over the railing, which is about waist high. Ottawa Police said the incident appeared accidental.

“He fell - it doesn’t look like it was on purpose… At this time it doesn’t appear critical, they’re transporting him for precaution. He was speaking to them when they left, it doesn’t appear life threatening,” said Sgt. Cory Robertson

Paramedics said the man was transported to hospital with no obvious injuries, but that he would be assessed further upon arrival.

Anne-Marie Desouza was sitting in the front pew of the church’s main level when the incident happened.

“I heard a crack… He just landed right in the front of me and I’m still shaking,” Desouza said.

Witnesses said it happened just after 10a.m. during the communion portion of mass.

Dozens of people waited outside following the incident looking for an update on the man’s condition.

Five services were scheduled at this church for Easter Sunday. The man fell during the second service of the day. Emergency crews had things under control by the noon hour and the remaining services were able to go ahead.

But some people attending mass at noon were startled when they arrived and emergency vehicles were on scene.

“I was anxious to be honest. We just wanted to go to church and we saw a bunch of ambulances and police, lots of them,” said Nicolette Phipps, who attended the 12 o’clock mass.

Phipps said the incident was not addressed at the service.

Members of the church were not available for comment.