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South Florida sports bar deck collapse injures 24

A deck attached to a sports bar just north of Miami collapsed during Game 4 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and San Antonio Spurs, sending dozens of basketball fans into the water.

By Associated Press / June 14, 2013

In this photo provided by WSVN-TV, divers search the water after a deck collapse at Shuckers Bar & Grill in Miami Thursday night, June 13, 2013. The deck collapsed during the NBA Finals on Thursday night, sending dozens of patrons into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay. Three people were critically injured.

Tom Tuckwell, WSVN-TV/AP

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North Bay Village, Fla.

A packed outdoor deck behind a popular Miami-area sports bar partially collapsed during the NBA Finals on Thursday night, sending dozens of patrons into the shallow waters of Biscayne Bay.

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Miami-Dade Fire Chief David Downey said 24 people were taken to area hospitals. Two people were in serious condition.

Authorities 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.

Sports bar customers — and later rescuers — helped people from the water amid yelling, crying and a rush to find people who might be submerged.

"According to witnesses, a lot of people jumped in to help," Downey said.

One witness, Martin Torres, 42, of Los Angeles, said he was inside the sports bar with family and friends when heard 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," said Torres. "People were yelling. Nobody knew. People came out all wet. They were crying. For a while, nobody knows what was going on."

Israel Marquez, 37, of Bakersfield, Calif., who like Torres was in Florida because he's scheduled to board a cruise from Florida on Friday, said he "heard a big old snap. Boom. Like a shotgun blast."

Marquez said he looked out at the deck and "it all came down in slow motion."

Many peoples seemed in shock, with cuts and gashes on their faces. He said he went to the edge and helped five or six people from the water, and then a swarm of rescuers arrived.

"A lot of people were just shaken up," added Eric Williams, 42, of Atlanta. He rushed to the scene with his son and they jumped in to help people after they heard a loud noise from their room at the adjacent Best Western.

But he described the scene as "pandemonium," with people scrambling to get out.

There was initially some concern that people might have been trapped in the water beneath the crumpled deck. But divers searched the waters as helicopters overhead shined spotlights onto the scene, and Downey said later that crews had completed their search and everyone was accounted for.

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