Notre Dame Student: Why the Declan Sullivan Accident Could Have Been Prevented

Declan Sullivan
Declan Sullivan

A Notre Dame student died Wednesday after the tower from which he was filming football practice fell over.

Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., died in a South Bend hospital after the accident.

The hydraulic scissor lift, which can be lowered or raised depending on needs, stretched across a nearby street.  Authorities were investigating the incident.

Why was the team practicing in extreme weather conditions?  More importantly, why did Sullivan have to film the practice? 

If the winds were gusting to 51 mph at the time, and the team practiced indoors the day before, coaches and players should have used better judgment by not taking a chance in playing outside and filming it.

The scissor lift is only safe in winds up to 25 mph.  Sullivan even tweeted his fears about the winds just before he died.  “Gust of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough :-/.”  “Holy **** holy **** this is terrifying.”

This tragic accident could have been prevented sadly.

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.”

 Prayers go out to Sullivan and his parents and family.

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