MADISON, Wis. – Dozens of college students descended into Lake Mendota near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus when a pier they were on collapsed beneath them, dramatic video shows.
The Memorial Union Terrace pier crumbled into the lake, sending an estimated 60 to 80 students into the water on Labor Day Monday afternoon, UW-Madison police said, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
Video posted to social media by @tannerkahler captured the moment the pier collapsed in one location before the rest fell like a house of cards.
— Tanner Kahler (@tannerkahler) September 4, 2023
“I turned to this one girl, and we were like, ‘Oh my God. Did that really just happen?’” said freshman student Gabrielle Willbrandt, according to WMTV. She was one of the many individuals standing on the pier when it collapsed.
The Journal Sentinel reported 25 people suffered various injuries, with five treated at the scene, but only one individual required transportation to a hospital, according to law enforcement officials, the New York Post reported.
Fortunately, many of those who found themselves in the lake managed to swim back to shore.
“Me and my friend who I was swimming with heard a big noise, and the whole dock was collapsing,” student Nicole Mitchell told WISC.
“There were dozens and dozens of students on it, just tanning or jumping into the lake or talking with their friends and suddenly the whole thing gave way.”
The pier is owned by the university. It was scheduled to be removed for the season on Tuesday, said Officer Jeff Kirchman, of the UW-Madison Police Department.
Law enforcement officials were uncertain if the number of people on the pier exceeded its capacity.
University officials said an investigation will be conducted into the collapse.