Victims, witnesses describe OIB deck collapse

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Submitted: Thu, 07/11/2013 - 3:33am
Updated: Thu, 07/11/2013 - 12:13pm

OCEAN ISLE BEACH, NC (WWAY) — A family member who did not want to go on camera says the collapse of a deck as his family posed for a photo Tuesday night in Ocean Isle Beach was a big shock.

Moments later, calls started coming in to Brunswick County 911.

“I’m at the beach, and our porch just fell through,” a caller said. “We were taking a family picture, and people are hurt”

When the deck gave in, the family member we spoke with says he grabbed the railing and edged over to a safe side of the deck before running down the stairs to help his family.

Those staying in homes nearby say they heard a loud boom.

“It was just a loud, crashing, kind of like a gun going off, just a loud sound,” witness Michael Hancock said.

“I just heard a loud bang. I didn’t hear people’s voices, but if I had heard screaming it would have been worse,” Suzi Czerwinsai, another witness said.

She says she didn’t think much of it until she saw the flashing lights of emergency vehicles.

“We just thought, what in the world? Somebody hit something. We were just not panicky at that moment, but we knew something had happened.”

Other people staying nearby say they were extremely concerned when they found out what happened, because they saw several children with the family before the collapse

“Young kids,” witness Chris Melfi said. “There was a little, little boy, that was very comparable to my daughter’s age around two years old, so that was my first thought was you know, obviously making sure everyone was OK.”

We tried to contact all three hospitals where victims were taken, but they could not give us many answers.

A spokeswoman at Brunswick Novant Medical Center says a total of seven victims were treated at the hospital. Of those, five were treated and released, one was transferred to another hospital. The last victim is in good condition.

The mother of the man who rented the house told us via Facebook several of the victims have broken bones and some need surgery.

The relative we spoke with in Ocean Isle Beach said he’s just grateful no one died in the accident.

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