NORTH BAY VILLAGE (CBS4) – Search crews have ended their work at a restaurant after part of a restaurant patio collapsed sending dozens of people into Biscayne Bay Thursday night.
Witnesses said people were dining and watching Game 4 of the NBA Finals at Shuckers Bar & Grill in North Bay Village when the unthinkable happened. Fans of the Miami Heat had just risen to their feet to cheer a Heat basket when the floor fell out from under them.
“We walk in, we take a few steps in, my mom was looking for a hostess and you just hear *crunch crunch,* curiosity, and then it was bam, killer coming down, pillar, pillar, and people screaming and yelling, pieces of wood hitting the water,” said witness Anthony Herrerra.
Leah Masters, a hostess at Shuckers, said bartenders and multiple patrons jumped into the water to help those who had fallen into the water when the deck collapsed.
“I actually went in the water. We were pushing people out; my son was pulling people out, Trayvon Williams was pulling people out of the water,” said Good Samaritan Eric Williams. “Even some of the first responders because as they got there, they realized the footing was, the water was slimy. The deck was wet, and we pulled people out and pushed people up and moved chairs and tables and so forth.”
Click below to listen to 911 calls:
Miami Fire Rescue’s Lt. Ignatius Carroll said a total of up to 100 people fell into the water when the deck gave way. A total of 33 people were hurt and 24 of the injured were taken to local hospitals. Out of those taken to the hospital, two were in critical condition.
“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.”
According to Marino, the victims were taken to University of Miami hospital, Mount Sinai hospital, North Shore Hospital, Jackson North, and Jackson Medical Center.
Multiple rescue and law enforcement agencies responded to the scene within minutes of the initial call. The U.S. Coast Guard also joined in the initial search and rescue operation.
Miami Heat superstar Dwyane Wade, who was playing in San Antonio in Game 4, talked about the Shuckers’ collapse after his great performance in the game.
“I want to share our concerns as an organization and our gratitude to our fans back in Miami for their support and share our concerns for those who were injured tonight at Shuckers Restaurant,” Wade told the media during a post-game press conference in San Antonio.
Heat owner Micky Arison also weighed in wishing the best for anyone who was injured when the deck gave way.
“Awful news about deck collapse @ Shuckers. Wishing anyone injured a speedy recovery,” Arison tweeted.
Mayor Connie Crepes also thanked everyone who responded and got the word out quickly about the deck collapse.
“It’s very sad and very unfortunate and I want to say thank you for all the resources that came in minutes,” Mayor Crepes said.
According to Marino, Shuckers had a capacity of 74 people inside the restaurant, but the capacity for the deck was determined separately by North Bay Village.
The restaurant passed an evaluation in January 2013. In January 2012, the restaurant was cited for a problem with fire extinguisher, but it was fixed within 10 days.
CBS4’s Natalia Zea spoke with a structural engineer who is also a building inspector for the city of Aventura, who came here for the city to survey the damage. He said that concrete piling should attach to a beam that runs all along the deck and attaches to another piling. He said one look at both of these pilings shows you the rebar that connects them is rusted.
Friday, Shuckers restaurant released this statement:
The owners of Shuckers in North Bay Village are dismayed over the accident last evening. The family said their thoughts and best wishes are with their customers and employees, the emergency workers and all their families. Their focus is on insuring that the injured are given the care they need and in assisting the government agencies investigating the event.