SAVANNAH, Ga., Nov. 20 (UPI) — A Georgia firefighter has died after attempting to save people who fell from a collapsed dock ramp.
The dock — which connected passengers to a ferry crossing — collapsed Saturday afternoon, sending about 55 people into the Savannah River. The accident occurred along River Street, a popular tourist destination in Savannah, which is 247 miles southeast of Atlanta.
Master Firefighter Michael Curry, a 13-year veteran of the department and the father of an 8-year-old boy, died while attempting to rescue people.
Officials told WSAV-TV that Curry suffered an apparent medical condition.
“We all love this profession,” Fire Chief Charles G. Middleton said during a news conference. “We are all expecting, at some point, any of us could be answering our last alarm.”
This is the first time Middleton said he has lost a firefighter in the line of duty.
No other victims were critically injured.
Fire officials are investigating, saying they don’t know whether the collapse was caused by overcrowding.
“[The dock] like — jumped — and people started to scream,” Savannah resident Matthew Adams told WJCL-TV. “It dropped probably a good three to four feet and tilted and leaned forward and dumped everybody over the side.”
Ann Everhardt told WJCL several bystanders rushed to help people out of the water.
“When you looked over, you could see people floating in the river,” Everhardt said. “People were trying to grab people that were in the river — they were trying to yank them out. Some people were just trying to hold onto arms because the current is so strong.”