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Miami bar deck collapses, tipping scores into water

By David Adams

MIAMI (Reuters) - An outdoor deck at a Miami area sports bar partially collapsed late on Thursday, spilling dozens of people into Biscayne Bay and injuring 24, two of them seriously, authorities said.

About 100 people were on the deck behind Shuckers Bar and Grill when it collapsed about 9:45 p.m., said Miami-Dade Fire Rescue spokesman Lieutenant Arnold Piedrahita.

"Fortunately only 33 people were injured, 24 of those people were transported to local hospitals and only two were in serious condition," Piedrahita said.

The injured were taken to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami. Details on their condition were not available.

Rescue divers started to search for a patron thought to be missing after the deck slumped into the water, but called it off after determining the report was not reliable, Piedrahita said.

Shuckers, which has an outdoor patio deck, is attached to a hotel on a busy, four-lane causeway linking Miami and Miami Beach.

Fans had packed into the bar to cheer on the Miami Heat against NBA rivals the San Antonio Spurs, when the decking gave way just before half time and crashed into the bay, patrons told local television news.

"We heard a crunch, crunch, crunch, and then we saw the pillars went down one by one," said Anthony Herrera, a witness at the bar, told local WPLG television station.

"Everything went lower and lower ... it was panic," said Cesar Cabana, one of the bar patrons who ended up in the water.

Piedrahita would not speculate on the cause of the collapse.

(Reporting by David Bailey, Brendan O'Brien; Writing by Tim Gaynor; Editing by Cynthia Johnston and Doina Chiacu)

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