Declan Sullivan, Student Manager, Killed as Notre Dame Video Tower Collapses
SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A 20-year-old student manager at the University of Notre Dame died on Wednesday when the mobile scissor-lift tower atop which he was standing blew over due to strong winds.
The student manager was identified as Declan Sullivan, a junior from Long Grove, Ill. who lived in Fisher Hall. Sullivan's sister, Gwyneth, is also a student at Notre Dame.
The accident occurred at approximately 4:50 p.m., when the mobile hydraulic-lift tower, which is used to videotape practices, blew over as winds gusted upwards of 40 mph. The tower fell across an eight-foot high chain-link fence that abuts the north side of the LaBar practice complex and landed on the service road. The tower, at its most extended, rises at least 50 feet into the air.
Sullivan was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he later died.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss," said Notre Dame president Rev. John Jenkins, C.S.C. "Our hearts go out to the student's family and friends and our prayers and profound sympathies are with them during this incredibly difficult time. The loss of someone so young is a terrible shock and a great sadness. Our entire community shares in the family's grief."
Strong storms pelted South Bend Tuesday morning and as many as nine tornadoes touched down in Indiana. Winds were so severe that Brian Kelly moved practice indoors for the first time since becoming the school's coach last December. On Wednesday skies were clear but winds continued to gust from the southwest intermittently. Notre Dame's outdoor practice facility has three fields, with two permanent metal-stanchion video towers between them. The portable scissor towers, of which there are also two, are usually stationed behind the north end zones of the two western-most fields. The tower that fell was at the north end zone of the middle field.
Notre Dame is scheduled to host Tulsa on Saturday at 2:30 p.m.
Wednesday afternoon's tragedy marks the second time in seven months that a student affiliated with the Notre Dame football program has died. In April, Matt James, a five-star recruit from Cincinnati who had signed a letter-of-intent with the university, died while on spring break in Florida. James, too, died from a fall after he lost his balance on a fifth-floor hotel balcony.