SAVANNAH, Ga (WSAV) – Was it human or structural error that left dozens injured from a toppled loading ramp on river street over the weekend?
The city owns it, Chatham Area Transit uses it and somehow the Rousakis Plaza recreation dock, loaded with people, collapsed. .
The mayor and city leaders tell News 3 that it’s too early to draw conclusions, but they have just as many questions as we do on how this could have happened.
“It’s very important that we understand what happened here,” says Savannah city manager Rob Hernandez.
Rousakis plaza is a center point of tourism in Savannah and now it remains draped in crime scene tape.
“We need to make sure A in my mind that is was inspected after the storm, that it was deemed suitable to be used and from there on the rest I guess we’ll be able to figure out what happened why it failed,” says 1st district alderman Van Johnson.
City manager rob Hernandez addressed council on the issue and has his idea of why it happened.
“It’s obvious to us that the weight played a major factor in that and so we have an investigation underway.”
Signs are posted on the ramp to prevent standing on it the ramp dates back six years and was originally meant for use by private boaters, not crowded ferries.
Chatham area transit entered an agreement with the city to use it when off and on work began on the city hall landing.
“The questions I have are the same questions you have, how was this possible, how did it happen, was there operator error meaning the ferry that was going back and forth, was there too much weight on the ramp itself, was there a structural deficiency with the ramp,” those are just a few Hernandez had on his mind talking to us.
Now the city has a structural engineer investigating the collapse and reaching out to the ramp’s manufacturer. Even though no one died because of the ramp giving out, the event resulted in the death of fireman Mike Curry.
“We’re not going to forget about it and ultimately we want to avoid any similar type of event in the future,” says Hernandez.
The city attorney confirmed the city did have an agreement with CAT to use the ramp. Hernandez says the ramp was visually inspected after hurricane Matthew.