Chaos & Injuries After Freak Accident At College Campus
Dozens of people were suddenly sent into Lake Mendota in Madison, Wisconsin on Labor Day when a swimming pier filled with students and members of the public suddenly collapsed.
Only one person was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, while five other people were treated and released at the scene for minor injuries.
Footage taken of the incident shows the pier, located in front of the Memorial Union on the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus, filled with people who are standing and sitting. Suddenly the pier gave way, sending the people into the water.
The Madison Fire Department estimates that 60 to 80 people were on the pier when it collapsed. All were able to make it back to shore.
Gabrielle Willbrandt, a freshman who was standing on the pier at the time of the collapse, said, “I turned to this one girl, and we were like, ‘Oh my God. Did that really just happen?’ It was really scary. It made a really loud noise at first, and then it was basically a fight or flight response.”
The University of Wisconsin-Madison Police Department, the Madison Fire Department, the Dane County Sheriff’s Office, Wisconsin Union staff, and UW–Madison Dean of Students Christina Olstad all responded to the scene to provide first aid and assistance.
The university said that the swimming area was not staffed by lifeguards at the time of the collapse, and that the pier was due to be removed the day after the incident for the end of the summer season.
In the wake of the incident, the university has launched an investigation to determine the cause of the collapse.
“We are sorry for the disruption and concern caused by this event, and are taking all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our students and community,” the university said in a statement.
The university has asked students, faculty, and staff members to avoid the pier until the investigation is complete, and lake access has been temporarily closed to the public.
It remains unknown what exactly caused the pier to collapse, and officials have yet to announce a timeline for their investigation into the matter. In the meantime, the university will continue to prioritize the safety of its students and community members.