Twenty-six women were injured, one critically, when a balcony collapsed under the weight of 70 people at an end-of-school party in Brisbane, Australia.
The women, mostly mums celebrating their sons’ Year 12 graduation from the Anglican Church Grammar School, were on the balcony of a renovated Queenslander-style home in Ascot on Thursday when it gave way.
Firefighters freed three people trapped under the debris.
A Department of Emergency Services spokeswoman said 26 patients were treated and transported to six hospitals by Queensland Ambulance Service paramedics.
At the time of the collapse, their children were on a fun day outing to the Gold Coast and most found out about the mishap by text message.
School principal Jonathan Hensman was standing only about a metre from the balcony when it collapsed, but escaped injury.
With his left shoulder covered in someone else’s blood, Hensman described the scene as a “mass of bodies laying amongst smashed glass”.
“It’s a very tragic event to happen on a day we were meant to be celebrating,” he said.
“It was just a mess.”
One of the mothers, Anne Chater, said the collapse took everyone by surprise.
“I was extremely lucky. I was at one end of the balcony when the other end collapsed,” she said.
“It just collapsed, it just went thump.
“I couldn’t help anyone.”
Kathy Parer, whose daughter was at the party, said she first heard of the mishap when her daughter phoned.
“I got a phone call from my daughter in tears and I raced here as quick as I could,” she said.
“I was just stunned.”
She said it was a tight-knit group and they would come through the tragedy.
“All the girls have stuck together really well,” she said.
“It’s helped that they have all known each other and helped each other get through it.
“It’s a pity it’s happened on such a great day.”