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Investigation begins into Miami deck collapse that left 24 people injured

Authorities estimated about 100 people were on the deck at Shuckers Bar & Grill on Thursday night.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Authorities estimated about 100 people were on the deck at Shuckers Bar & Grill on Thursday night.

NORTH BAY VILLAGE, Fla. — Investigators began examining a twisted pile of concrete, metal, and wood on Friday to determine why a waterfront deck at a popular sports bar collapsed into shallow Biscayne Bay, injuring two dozen people gathered to cheer the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals.

Authorities estimated about 100 people were on the deck at Shuckers Bar & Grill when a support on one end apparently gave way, causing the deck to buckle in the middle and drop about 8 feet into the bay.

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The scene Friday was a tangle of partly submerged green plastic chairs, tables, umbrellas, flip-flops, and cellphones lost in the chaos of the night before.

‘‘It was a shock,’’ said Martin Torres, 42, who was in South Florida from Los Angeles. ‘‘People were yelling. Nobody knew. People came out all wet. They were crying.’’

Miami-Dade Fire Chief David Downey said 24 people were taken to area hospitals. Many had cuts and bruises, though one person suffered a fracture. By midday Friday, only one person remained hospitalized with unknown injuries.

Structural engineer Morgan Villanueva, whose firm contracts with various cities for engineering services, said when he arrived to inspect the debris that it appeared a main support at one end gave way for unknown reasons. It was not clear Friday how old the deck was and when it was last inspected or renovated.

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Griselle Marino said the main restaurant has a safe capacity of 74 people, but rules for the deck would be enforced separately by North Bay Village officials.

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