Authorities: Bridge Was Overloaded

Bridge may have been double over capacity

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    About 50 people fell into the water when the 90-foot suspension bridge snapped.

    People finally got a chance on Monday to return to Hidden Lake Park in Merrillville, Ind., to collect belongings lost when a footbridge collapsed following a fireworks display two days earlier.

    As they got a chance to see the wreckage in daylight, authorities continued to cite structural failure, believed to be caused by too many people on the bridge, as the likely cause.

    "There were far too many people on the bridge. It was overloaded," said Ross Township Trustee John Rooda. "We had uniformed police officers at both ends. We shoot for 20 people. It can handle up to 40. We're confident there were twice as many on the bridge."

    Some estimates put as many as 100 people on the bridge.

    No one was killed, but about fifty people fell into the water when the 90-foot suspension bridge snapped and fell into Hidden Lake.

    "It sounded worse than the fireworks going off," said resident Karen Yokum.

    Rooda said the bridge was inspected by a construction company about a year ago. Portions that needed repair got attention and the entire span was resurfaced, he said.

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