Tag:Notre Dame Tower Collapse
Posted on: October 28, 2010 2:58 am

ND tower victim: "Holy **** this is terrifying"

Posted by Adam Jacobi

By now, we've all heard about the tragic death of Declan Sullivan, the Notre Dame student assistant who was killed when his hydraulic film tower was blown over and toppled onto an adjoining street. As with any similar incident, an investigation is underway, if for no other reason than for a little more sense of closure for Sullivan's family and the team.

The thing of it is, though, Sullivan was actually acutely aware of the danger he faced when he went up into that raised platform on Wednesday. We know that because of two Facebook statuses he posted minutes before the fatal accident. Here's what Eric Hansen of the South Bend Tribune reports was on Sullivan's Facebook page:

Sullivan said: “Holy (expletive) holy (expletive) this is terrifying.”
And at 3:32 p.m., he posted: Gusts of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work... I guess I've lived long enough :-/

Knowing how this story ends and reading them after the fact is, for lack of a better term, sickening. It's the manifestation of every fear that keeps a parent awake at night, that their child's sense of trust will override his or her sense of danger, and that it ends badly. You read these posts and just think, "NO, NO, NO, STAY ON THE GROUND." But Sullivan didn't, and it's too late now.

Yet at the same time, Sullivan did choose to go up in the tower on Wednesday, and there are no reports as of yet that Kelly forced Sullivan to stay up there against any voiced objections. In other words, absent any as-yet-undisclosed details, there's really nobody to blame here, no bad guys who facilitated Sullivan's death. When he posted those now-haunting Facebook updates, he probably wasn't doing so as a cry for help so much as setting the stage for a story to tell later. That's not to put the blame on Sullivan's death on him, of course; even he underestimated the danger he faced going up there Wednesday, and that's why we're all where we are now.

Ugh. As if the story needed any worse details. Again, our thoughts are with the Notre Dame team, its community, and Sullivan's family.

Posted on: October 27, 2010 8:09 pm
Edited on: October 27, 2010 9:35 pm

Notre Dame assistant killed in high-wind accident

Posted by Adam Jacobi

Terrible news from South Bend today, as Notre Dame student Declan Sullivan was killed when his hydraulic film tower tipped over. Here's how Irish Sports Daily described the incident:

The accident happened at approximately 4:50 p.m. at the LaBar Practice Complex, located on the southeast side of campus. The student was filming Notre Dame football practice for the Department of Athletics from a hydraulic scissor lift when the incident occurred. The student was transported to Memorial Hospital in South Bend, where he later died.

As Chicago Breaking Sports noted at the time of the accident, the tower fell onto a street that's adjacent to the practice field where the student was filming.

“We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss,” Rev. John I. Jenkins, C.S.C., Notre Dame’s president, said in a statement. “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.

This is the second tragedy to befall Notre Dame since Brian Kelly took over at the end of last season; recall that just this past April, recruit Matt James died in a Spring Break accident.

Tragedies like these can't be overcome; that's not the way life works. They can be worked through, to an extent, and the Fighting Irish players and staffers are fortunate to be in an environment where cooperation, trust, and camaraderie are already part of their day-to-day culture. That's how they'll get through the roughest emotional stretches this, and it'll be a transformative event in their lives all the same, but if they had any compunctions about depending on their fellow teammates in times of need, those must surely be gone now.

Sullivan was only 20. How dreadfully awful for him to die so soon. Our thoughts are with his family and the Notre Dame community.

[UPDATE: Name added and age corrected.]

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