ST. MARYS, Georgia — Seventeen people were injured and six were taken to the hospital after a dock in St. Marys, Georgia collapsed Tuesday, officials said.
The dock collapsed around 10:14 a.m. when a group of retired submarine sailors from the USS Angler and their spouses gathered for a tour and river cruise on the St. Marys River, according to City Manager Robby Horton.
Their river cruise boat was secured to a floating dock and passengers were in the process making their way to the floating dock when the metal walkway attached to the pier gave way and collapsed, Horton says.
He says there were approximately 17 to 20 people walking along this portion of the pier during the collapse.
Witnesses standing along the pier as well as those who were involved in the incident reported a sudden loud noise as the walkway collapsed into the river.
“We heard a bang noise. Then we heard some screaming and someone hollering to call 911," Kingsland Resident Rosemary Livingood said.
Rosemary Livingood and her husband were fishing and crabbing nearby when the dock collapsed and they sprang into action.
“When I got there, there was an elderly gentleman and his wife on one end of the dock wounded and another half a dozen at the other end of the dock. I stood there, did what I could until EMS and the sheriff’s department showed up and I let them take over," Livingood said.
In total, Horton says there were 17 reports of injuries and six were transported to nearby hospitals for the treatment. Horton says the victims were seniors and many walked away with only bruises.
Horton says the dock has been open to the public for about three years and the city was not aware of any structural issues.
“We are in the process of getting in contact with our engineers, our contractors, our insurance company and everybody so this is gonna be under investigation for a while," City Manager Robert Horton said.
The boat ramps located on the St. Marys River at St. Marys Street will are reopen but the docks be closed to the public for a short, undetermined amount of time.
Horton said the closure is to allow engineers the opportunity to inspect the pier and make appropriate corrections to prevent any further incident or to jeopardize the citizens seeking to enjoy public access to the St. Marys waterfront.
"The City of St. Marys takes the safety of our citizens very seriously and will continue to take all measures to ensure that commitment," said Horton in a statement. "We ask for patience as we investigate the incident and for thoughts and prayers to the families affected by the event today.
The National Parks service, St. Marys Police Department, Camden County Sheriff's Office, St. Marys Fire Rescue, Camden County Fire Rescue, King's Bay Fire Rescue and Camden Emergency Management were all on scene Tuesday.