The News Courier in Athens, Alabama

State and Nation

June 14, 2013

Fla. sports bar deck collapses, dozens into water

(Continued)

"A lot of people were just shaken up," added Eric Williams, 42, of Atlanta. He rushed to the scene with his son and they jumped in to help people after they heard a loud noise from their room at the adjacent Best Western.

But he described the scene as "pandemonium," with people scrambling to get out.

There was initially some concern that people might have been trapped in the water beneath the crumpled deck. But divers searched the waters as helicopters overhead shined spotlights onto the scene, and Downey said later that crews had completed their search and everyone was accounted for.

The accident occurred around 9:45 p.m. as customers were watching the Miami Heat play the San Antonio Spurs. The Heat won on the road.

WSVN-TV news director Tom Tuckwell said he had his back to the bay when he heard an enormous roar, according to the station's website. When he turned around, he saw people disappearing beneath them.

"That was a big gathering watching the Miami Heat and Spurs," said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokeswoman Griselle Marino. "There were a lot of TVs and everybody was in celebration and it was loud. So when it started happening, some people didn't even realize what was going on."

Torres said he looked down and "these girls were looking up. We started grabbing them. They got crazy. People started pushing toward us."

Lt. Eugene Germain, spokesman for Miami-Dade Fire Rescue, said most of those injured had cuts but one patient suffered a fracture.

He said 50 units responded, and divers were deployed — the water was about 4 feet deep right where the deck was — as air rescue units lit up the scene. Rescuers talked with eyewitnesses and they were able to account for persons they were with.

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