Medical helicopters ferried critically injured victims of a deck collapse near Lakeside to area hospitals on Saturday afternoon.
Lake County Sheriff Don Bell says it's being called a mass casualty incident with the Somers Lakeside Fire Department reporting that more than two dozen people were hurt, some critically, when a deck gave way at a church camp.
Sheriff Bell says it happened south of Lakeside along Presbyterian Camp road at around 4:30 p.m. Saturday. Initial reports indicate that the deck collapse happened during a memorial service that was being held at a Presbyterian church camp.
Multiple agencies, as wells as alert and life flight medical helicopters transported the injured to hospitals around Western and Northwest Montana. Some of the injured were taken to Kalispell Regional Medical Center. Lakeside Ambulance COO Brian Reed was the first responder on scene.
"There was a lot of chaos. I was the first person on scene so a lot of people looking to me to do a lot of things quickly...what I needed to do was assess the type of resources we needed and every patient that was there was being taken care of by a friend or a love one," Reed said.
"My quick glance around didn't show that there was any immediate airway issues or that anyone was unconscious so everybody was actually in very good hands but at that point i just needed to make sure that we had resources coming," he added.
Reed called it in as a mass casualty incident due to the number of injuries. About 40 people were on the deck when it collapsed. tables where people were getting food were flattened by the weight of the deck.
Three people were flown by medical helicopters off the sight while multiple ambulance services transported people across a wide range of ages, including at least one child.
Due to the number of casualties, first responders used a method of color coding the victims on scene. Red, yellow and green are used to note the method of transportation.
(6.17.17 first report)
Several people have been hurt, some critically, after a deck collapsed at a church camp south of Lakeside.
Lake County Sheriff Don Bell tells MTN News the incident happened at around 4:30 p.m. on Saturday afternoon along Presbyterian Camp Road, along Flathead Lake south of Lakeside.
Multiple ambulances were called to the scene, as well as the ALERT and Lifeflight medical helicopters, to ferry the injured to area hospitals. Mutual aid was called in from as far away as Missoula.
Bell says the incident is being called a "mass casualty incident" due to the number of people who were hurt when the deck gave way. The Somers Lakeside Fire Department reports that over two dozen people were hurt.
Initial reports indicate that the deck collapse occurred during a memorial service that was being held at a Presbyterian church camp. The cause of the collapse is still under investigation.
Lakeside QRU, Rollins Fire, Polson Rural Fire, Chief Cliff Fire, Smith Valley EMS, Evergreen EMS, Whitefish EMS, West Valley EMS, Polson Ambulance, Big Fork EMS all responded to the scene.
We have a reporter at the scene and will bring you more information as it becomes available.
- information from Nicole Miller and Mark Thorsell included in this report.