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Wednesday, October 27, 2010
Updated: October 28, 10:17 AM ET
Student dies in video tower collapse

ESPN.com news services

SOUTH BEND, Ind. -- A Notre Dame student died Wednesday after the tower from which he was filming football practice fell over.

Declan Sullivan, a 20-year-old junior from Long Grove, Ill., was transported from the LaBar practice complex to a South Bend hospital, where he died.

Notre Dame Tragedy
Notre Dame emergency personnel examine the location where a tower used to tape the team's football practice fell over, leading to the death of student Declan Sullivan.

"Our thoughts and prayers go out to Declan's family and friends," coach Brian Kelly said in a release. "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."

Authorities were investigating the incident. The hydraulic scissor lift, which can be lowered or raised depending on needs, stretched across a nearby street. According to one report, the tower stood about 50 feet above the ground.

Winds in the area were gusting to 51 mph at the time, according to the National Weather Service, and the team practiced indoors Tuesday because of the blustery conditions.

Sullivan indicated via his Twitter account that he was in a dangerous predicament. According to a report from WTSB in South Bend, Sullivan posted the following tweet at 3:22 p.m. ET, just as practice was beginning: "Gusts of wind up to 60 mph. Well today will be fun at work. I guess I've lived long enough."

Then, at 4:06 p.m. according to the station, Sullivan posted another tweet: "Holy (blank). Holy (blank). This is terrifying."

Notre Dame was making grief counselors available for students, and university president Rev. John Jenkins will preside over a special Mass in Sullivan's memory on Thursday at 10 p.m. ET.

"We are deeply saddened by this tragic loss," Jenkins said. "Our hearts go out to the student's family and friends and our prayers and profound sympathies are with them during this incredibly difficult time. The loss of someone so young is a terrible shock and a great sadness. Our entire community shares in the family's grief."

The Fighting Irish, who host Tulsa this Saturday, canceled post-practice interviews after the accident.

"In the midst of a season where you are disappointed with the outcomes ... you can lose sight of what's most important. Sad day at practice," senior linebacker Brian Smith posted on his Twitter page. "I will never forget today."

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.