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Notre Dame

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Associated Press
This photo provided on Thursday by The Notre Dame Observer shows Declan Sullivan.

Notre Dame AD heard ‘burst of wind’ before fatal crash

SOUTH BEND – Notre Dame’s athletic director says there was an “extraordinary burst of wind” on the football field before he heard a tower crash to the ground, killing a student who was videotaping practice.

Jack Swarbrick talked to reporters on Thursday, a day after Declan Sullivan died when the scissor lift he was on fell.

Swarbrick said the wind caused towels and a Gatorade cooler to fly in the air and the netting on the football goal post to bend.

He said he didn’t see the tower fall but heard a crash.

He said the team and others responded to Sullivan, who was then taken by ambulance to a South Bend hospital. Swarbrick said he received a call from the ambulance that Sullivan was no longer breathing.

Indiana's workplace safety agency said Thursday it is investigating the death.

The National Weather Service said winds were gusting to 51 mph at the time when the hydraulic scissor lift toppled.

It was not clear who authorized Sullivan to go up in the scissor lift to videotape Wednesday's practice.

It also was not clear who made the lift. But one manufacturer of scissor lifts, HHS Wire, said on its website that the device should not be used in winds above 25 mph.

Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration spokesman Marc Lotter said Thursday the agency had an investigator on the scene in South Bend. He said it is too early to say when the agency might release a report.

Notre Dame made grief counselors available for students, and university president Rev. John Jenkins presided over a special Mass in Sullivan's memory this morning.