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Terror of the birthday party: 11 wounded, 2 critics in the collapse of the Tennessee restaurant deck

The wooden deck gave way when a group posed for a birthday photo.

Eleven people were injured, two in critical condition, when an elevated deck of a Tennessee beachfront restaurant collapsed during a group photo at a birthday party, officials said.

The joyful festivities turned into a moment of terror on Saturday afternoon in the suburb of Chattanooga, when an outdoor wooden deck at Zois Harbor Lights Restaurant suddenly gave way under the weight of more than 40 people posing for a group photo of anniversary, according to the Hamilton County Emergency Management Agency.

The episode unfolded around 4 pm. at the restaurant in Soddy-Daisy overlooking Lake Chickamauga, officials said.

PHOTO: Investigators with Hamilton County, TN Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security survey the collapse of a deck at Zoi's Restaurant in Harbor Lights Marina in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., May 1, 2021.
Source: ABC News

Photos posted online by the Office of Emergency Management showed the large collapsed and chipped wooden deck, lying in ruins between broken bars, overturned support beams and twisted aluminum cladding.

Amy Maxwell, a spokesman for the county’s Emergency Management Agency, told ABC News on Sunday that when the collapse occurred, some people were trapped under the deck while others left with minor injuries.

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One of the wounded, Sondra Teligades, told the ABC WTVC affiliate station in Chattanooga that he heard clicks and described the panic of free fall for about two floors to the ground by the lake. Teligades said she was taken to a hospital and treated for concussion and bruised ribs.

PHOTO: Investigators with Hamilton County, TN Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security survey the collapse of a deck at Zoi's Restaurant in Harbor Lights Marina in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., May 1, 2021.
Source: ABC News

Dallas Bay firefighters and Soddy-Daisy responded to the scene and began providing first aid to the wounded.

Officials said 11 people were taken by ambulance to nearby hospitals. Two patients were seriously injured, according to Maxwell.

PHOTO: Investigators with Hamilton County, TN Office of Emergency Management & Homeland Security survey the collapse of a deck at Zoi's Restaurant in Harbor Lights Marina in Soddy-Daisy, Tenn., May 1, 2021.
Source: ABC News

Maxwell said it was not clear why the deck collapsed.

Maxwell said the Hamilton County Building Code Department is investigating the incident.

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