More than 20 teenagers from a Texas summer camp were injured Thursday when they crashed through a boardwalk that collapsed in Surfside Beach.
Five of the 21 wounded campers were airlifted to the hospital but none of the injuries were expected to be life-threatening, Brazoria County officials said.
The teens, who ranged in age from 14 to 18 years old, had gathered together on a section of the raised wooden walkway in Stahlman Park to take a group photo when it suddenly dropped from beneath their feet just after 12:30 p.m., according to camp organizers and witnesses.
“That whole ramp was getting full and then all of a sudden it sounded like a shotgun blast,” one witness told ABC13.
“It went POW! And next thing I know I see girls flying through the air, bouncing off the ground and then they didn’t move… There were just kids laying everywhere. It was terrible.”
He added that first responders arrived at the scene within a couple minutes.
The campers were on a trip to the beachside city on the Gulf of Mexico, about 60 miles south of downtown Houston, with the Bayou City Fellowship summer camp, Brazoria County public information officer Sharon Trower said.
Five teens were flown to Memorial Hermann Hospital in Houston by helicopter, six were taken to local hospitals by ambulance and 10 more brought to hospitals by private vehicles, Trower said.
The local blood bank, Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center, said additional blood was being delivered to the teenagers injured in the collapse and asked for donations to keep up the supply level.
A total of 78 campers were on the trip from areas including Cypress, Tomball and Spring Branch, Bayou City Fellowship told ABC13.
Additional blood is being delivered to care for patients from the Stahlman Park boardwalk collapse at Surfside Beach. Donate blood to help keep our supplies and emergency vehicles fully stocked. Visit https://t.co/UM5cHBEhoD to find a location today. https://t.co/6EAFVUZdzv— Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center (@commitforlife) June 8, 2023
“While this is a traumatic event, we are blessed to report that none of the injuries are life-threatening,” Bayou City Fellowship wrote in a statement obtained by the local station. “We are thankful for the outpour of concern from our community and ask that the city and surrounding areas keep all that are affected physically and emotionally in prayer.”
The cause of the structure’s collapse is under investigation.