MIAMI — 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 transported to area hospitals, and that 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.
Bar customers and rescuers pulled people from the bay amid a chaotic scene. One witness, Martin Torres, 42, of Los Angeles, said he heard a loud explosion and though a boat had struck the deck. He said he looked out from the restaurant and saw people staring up from the water, and then he and others started helping pull patrons out of the water.
“It was shock,” said Torres. “And then everything was like, man, it exploded. People were yelling. Nobody knew. People came out all wet. They were crying. For a while, nobody knows what was going on.”
There was initially some concern that people might have been trapped in the water beneath the crumpled deck. But divers searched in the waters beneath the crumpled death as helicopters shined spotlights onto the scene, and Downey said later that crews had completed their search and everyone was accounted for.
“According to witnesses, a lot of people jumped in to help,” Downey said. “Those efforts can make a lot of difference sometimes.”
The accident occurred around 9:45 p.m. as customers were watching the Miami Heat play the San Antonio Spurs.
WSVN-TV news director Tom Tuckwell told the news station that he had his back to the bay when he heard an enormous roar. When he turned around, he saw people disappeared beneath them.