The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 14, 2013

Fla. sports bar deck collapses, dozens into water

— NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. (AP) — A packed outdoor deck behind a popular Miami-area sports bar partially collapsed during the NBA Finals on Thursday night, sending dozens of patrons into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.

Miami-Dade Fire Chief David Downey said 24 people were taken to area hospitals. Many had cuts and bruises, though one person suffered a fracture, a fire official said. Two people were in serious condition.

Authorities said about 100 people were on the deck of Shucker's Bar & Grill in North Bay Village, north of Miami Beach, when it gave way.

Sports bar customers — and later rescuers — helped people from the water amid yelling, crying and a rush to find people who might be submerged.

"According to witnesses, a lot of people jumped in to help," Downey said.

One witness, Martin Torres, 42, of Los Angeles, said he was inside the sports bar with family and friends when heard a loud explosion. At first, he thought a boat had struck the deck. He said he looked outside and saw people staring up from the water, and then he and others started helping them out of the bay.

"It was shock," said Torres. "People were yelling. Nobody knew. People came out all wet. They were crying. For a while, nobody knows what was going on."

Israel Marquez, 37, of Bakersfield, Calif., who like Torres was in Florida because he's scheduled to board a cruise from Florida on Friday, said he "heard a big old snap. Boom. Like a shotgun blast."

Marquez said he looked out at the deck and "it all came down in slow motion."

Many peoples seemed in shock, with cuts and gashes on their faces. He said he went to the edge and helped five or six people from the water, and then a swarm of rescuers arrived.

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