While patrons were concentrating on the fast-paced basketball game on television screens Thursday night, the outdoor deck of a popular Florida sports bar gave way, sending fans into the waters of Biscayne Bay.
Officials said about 100 people were on the deck of Shucker’s Bar & Grill in North Bay Village, north of Miami Beach, when it gave way. The deck was about 8 to 10 feet above the shallow water’s surface, roughly the same height of a basketball hoop above the court.
About two dozen people were injured, most with cuts and bruises. Two of the injuries were more serious, officials told the Associated Press.
“I’m trying to see why the supports collapsed,” structural engineer Morgan Villanueva said Friday as he arrived to inspect the dock. He said it appears a main beam on the western edge of the dock buckled, creating the collapse.
Villanueva pointed out that Florida building codes typically call for a deck that can support about 100 pounds per square foot.
“If people [watching the NBA Finals] were excited and jumping, it’s going to be an additional load,” he told the AP.
One witness, Martin Torres, 42, of Los Angeles, said he was inside the sports bar with family and friends when he heard what sounded like a loud explosion. At first, he thought a boat had struck the deck. He said he looked outside and saw people staring up from the water, and then he and others started helping them out of the bay.
“It was shock,” Torres told the wire service. “People were yelling. Nobody knew. People came out all wet. They were crying. For a while, nobody knows what was going on.”
North Bay Village is a small island in Biscayne Bay with a strip of restaurants, hotels, houses and condos that is attached by causeways to the mainland and also to Miami Beach.
In the game, the Miami Heat defeated the San Antonio Spurs, 109-93.