20-year-old Declan Sullivan was a sophomore at Notre Dame, a college whose football traditions are as deeply rooted as the game of college football itself. Declan had a dream job—student manager of the football team.
On a Wednesday afternoon, October 27, 2010, Declan ascended a hydraulic scissor lift 20-feet off the ground to film football practice from the bird’s eye vantage. The wind was whipping. The tower began to sway. Declan was swept with terror. The notes he posted on social media, which have just come to light, are chilling:
“Holy **** holy ***** this is terrifying.”
“Gusts of winds up to 60 mph, well today will be fun at work. I guess I’ve lived long enough.”
Inevitably, the tower came crashing down, hurtling onto a road near the practice field. Attempts were made to dig him out but Declan was gone.
There are two important facts that stand out in the investigation report:
FACT: The scissor lift that Declan was on isn’t supposed to be used in winds over 25 mph/40 km/hour.
FACT: At the time of the accident, the winds in South Bend, Indiana, where the Notre Dame campus is located, exceeded 50 mph/80 km/hour