PORTLAND, Maine (AP) — Eleven lighthouse enthusiasts were hurt when a walkway collapsed, sending people tumbling into mudflats below during an annual event that encourages tours of Maine’s beloved beacons.
The wooden walkway collapsed at Doubling Point Lighthouse in Arrowsic on Saturday afternoon. The lighthouse was open to the public as part of Maine Open Lighthouse Day, which is a day when the state’s scenic lighthouses are open to the public.
Five of the 11 injured people were taken to hospitals, said Bath Fire Department Deputy Chief Chris Cummings.
The collapse of the bridge happened at low tide and caused some of the victims to fall eight to ten feet, and they landed in a somewhat rocky mudflat below, Cummings said. He said numerous public safety safety departments responded to the scene.
“It was a team effort,” said Cummings, whose department is in a small city a few miles away.
Karen McLean, a member of the Friends of Doubling Point Light, said the group intends to repair the lighthouse, but there is no timeframe to do that yet.
The website of Friends of Doubling Point Light directed visitors to a message that said the lighthouse was “closed to visitors until further notice” on Sunday. McLean said the group has been working with local authorities in the aftermath of the collapse.
Doubling Point Lighthouse has stood since the late 19th century and is located on the Kennebec River. It’s located in a small town of about 450 people located about 40 miles (64 kilometers) up the coast from Portland, the largest city in the state.
The lighthouse is active as a Coast Guard aid to navigation. The site has a long wooden walkway that leads over a marshy area to the lighthouse, which itself is shorter than many in the state with a tower height of 23 feet (seven meters).