Indiana Bridge Collapses Into Lake After Celebration, Injuries Reported

July 6, 2009

A pedestrian suspension bridge collapsed into a lake in northwest Indiana after a Fourth of July celebration late Saturday, injuring at least 16 people, emergency personnel said.

Ross Township firefighter Perry Herzog told The Times newspaper of Munster that no one was killed, but emergency workers had to rescue “quite a few people” from the water.

The wooden bridge collapsed at Hidden Lake Park in Merrillville, about 45 miles southeast of Chicago, around 10 p.m. as spectators were leaving a fireworks display.

At least 16 people were taken to local hospitals and more may have gone on their own, Herzog said.

Witnesses described a chaotic scene, estimating that the roughly 90-foot-long bridge was full of people before it fell.

“We were walking across and everybody just stopped … we heard two snaps, and we all went in the water,” Seth Argullin, 29, of Merrillville, told the Post-Tribune.

“People were grasping and hanging onto the bridge itself,” Robert Walker, of Merrillville, told The Times.

About 50 emergency vehicles responded, and dive teams helped pull victims from the water. A helicopter was brought in to provide light for emergency workers.

Merrillville police wouldn’t provide information about the accident Saturday night. Dispatchers said details would be released later.

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