According to officials and dramatic footage, a harrowing incident unfolded near the University of Wisconsin-Madison campus as a pier where dozens of students were gathered suddenly gave way and plunged them into Lake Mendota.
As reported by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, on Labor Day Monday afternoon, the Memorial Union Terrace Pier, situated in the lake, unexpectedly sank, causing approximately 60 to 80 students to find themselves immersed in the water. Video footage of the incident captured the initial collapse of the pier, followed by a domino-like chain reaction as the rest of it toppled.
In the midst of this chaos, student Gabrielle Willbrandt, who had been on the dock as it descended into the water, shared her astonishment with WMTV, saying, “I turned to this girl and we said, ‘Oh my God. Did that really just happen?'” Fortunately, while at least 25 people sustained minor injuries, only one person required hospitalization. Five individuals received on-site medical attention, while the others did not need any treatment.
It was noted that the pier was scheduled for removal by the following Tuesday, a detail that adds an element of urgency to the incident. Student Nicole Mitchell, who was present during the collapse, recounted the sudden and alarming turn of events, saying, “My swimming partner and I heard a loud noise, and the entire dock collapsed… There were dozens, dozens of students up there, sunbathing, jumping in the lake or talking to friends, and suddenly everything fell apart.”
In a bid to safeguard their belongings, some of the students swam back to shore with their phones held aloft to prevent them from getting wet. An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the pier’s collapse is currently underway.