ST. MARYS, Ga. — Seventeen people were injured Tuesday morning when a metal walkway attached to a pier at the Wheeler Street Boat Ramp on the St. Marys River collapsed, according to City of St. Marys Manager Robert T. Horton.
Emergency crews from St. Marys Fire and Police departments were dispatched around 10:14 a.m., according to a release from Horton’s office. Of those 17 who were injured, six were taken to the hospital for treatment of more serious injuries.
“A group of retired submarine sailors from the USS Angler and their spouses had gathered for a tour and river cruise on the St. Marys River. 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,” the release said.
Witnesses, including those who were on the walkway and those who were standing on the pier, heard a sudden loud noise before the walkway fell into the river, the release said.
Other agencies that responded to the collapse included the Camden County Fire Rescue, Camden County Sheriff’s Office, Kings Bay Fire Rescue, Camden County Emergency Management and the National Park Service.
“The piers and boat ramps located on the St. Marys River at St. Marys Street (and Wheeler Street) will be closed to the public for a short but undetermined amount of time. This 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 the public access to the St. Marys waterfront,” the release said. “The City of St. Marys takes the safety of our citizens very seriously and will continue to take all measures to ensure that commitment. We ask for patience as we investigate the incident and for thoughts and prayers to the families affected by the event today.”
The Wheeler Street Boat Ramp was previously damaged during Hurricane Irma in 2017 and reopened in 2020.
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