SOUTH BEND, IN: The mood on the Notre Dame campus is somber after a 20-year-old student, Declan Sullivan, fell to his death. He worked for the school’s video department and was in the middle of filming football practice from a tower Wednesday when winds reaching up to 51 mph caused the tower to come crashing down. Declan Sullivan, who is from Long Grove, Illinois, was taken from the LaBar practice complex to a South Bend hospital, where he later died.
What makes this story even more heartbreaking is that Declan Sullivan posted a few message on his Twitter account from atop the tower before falling to his death. Ellie Hall of The Huffington Post reports that Declan Sullivan tweeted two messages about the windy conditions. From his Twitter account:
3:22pm “Gust of wind up to 60mph well today will be fun at work… I guess I’ve lived long enough :-/.”
4:02pm “Holy **** holy **** this is terrifying.”
Forty minutes later the hydraulic scissor lift fell. The question here is why did the football team hold practice outside amidst such harsh conditions? On Tuesday, practice was indoors due to tornado warnings, but coach Brian Kelly resumed practice outdoors on Wednesday despite the windy conditions.
Brian Kelly released a statement:
Our thoughts and prayers go out to Declan’s family and friends. Declan was a diligent student worker in our video department and had a tremendous personality and great sense of humor. He brightened the days for all that had the privilege to work with him, and the Notre Dame football family will dearly miss him.
There will be a memorial for Declan Sullivan on campus Thursday night.