SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Notre Dame student killed while videotaping football practice posted several ominous messages prior to the tragic accident.
Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., was killed when the scissor tower he was videotaping practice in toppled under windy conditions.
The second message, sent at 4.06pm, read: 'Holy f*** holy f*** this is terrifying.'
The tower toppled to the ground with Sullivan inside at around 4.50pm.
He died after being rushed from the practice complex to a South Bend hospital.
Indiana's workplace safety agency said Thursday it was investigating the death.
The National Weather Service said winds in the area were gusting
to 51 mph at the time when the hydraulic scissor lift, which can be
lowered or raised depending on needs, toppled. The football team
had practiced indoors on Tuesday because of the blustery conditions
caused by a fierce storm that swept through the region.
It was not clear who made the scissor lift. But one
manufacturer of scissor lifts, HHS Wire, said on its website that
the device should not be used in winds above 25 mph.
Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman
Marc Lotter said Thursday the agency had an investigator on the
scene in South Bend. He said it was too early to say when the
agency, which has the authority to levee fines, might release a
The university did not return calls seeking comment on
Wednesday, and it was not clear who authorized Sullivan to go up in
the scissor lift to videotape Wednesday's practice.
"Declan was a diligent student worker in our video department
and had a tremendous personality and great sense of humor," Coach
Brian Kelly said Wednesday in a release. "He brightened the days
for all that had the privilege to work with him, and the Notre Dame
football family will dearly miss him."
Notre Dame was making grief counselors available for students,
and university president Rev. John Jenkins will preside over a
special Mass in Sullivan's memory on Thursday.
"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss," Jenkins said.
"Our hearts go out to the student's family and friends and our
prayers and profound sympathies are with them during this
incredibly difficult time. The loss of someone so young is a
terrible shock and a great sadness. Our entire community shares in
the family's grief."
The Fighting Irish, who host Tulsa this Saturday, canceled
post-practice interviews after Wednesday's accident.
"In the midst of a season where you are disappointed with the
outcomes ... you can lose sight of what's most important. Sad day
at practice," senior linebacker Brian Smith posted on his Twitter
page on Wednesday. "I will never forget today."