Platform collapse injures 11, shuts part of border port

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – At least 11 people were injured Wednesday, one seriously, when a 50- by 50-foot section of wooden platform collapsed onto northbound traffic entering the United States through a construction zone at the San Ysidro Port of Entry.

The sprawling border-crossing facility on East San Ysidro Boulevard was closed to northbound travelers after the scaffolding gave way just north of the primary inspection booths about 10:45 a.m., according to U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials.

Debris, including support beams and pieces of concrete, fell onto 15 vehicles, according to the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department. Eight of the victims were able to free themselves from their autos and the structural wreckage, and emergency crews extricated the rest, Maurice Luque of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Department said.

Medics took the patients to four hospitals in San Diego and the South Bay. Among the victims were a pregnant woman who suffered apparently superficial injuries and four construction workers, one with serious but non- life-threatening trauma, Luque said.

Two dozen other motorists and renovation workers were evaluated for possible minor injuries, including respiratory irritation from breathing in dust kicked up by the collapse.

Federal engineers were called in to assess remaining hazards at the site and develop a cleanup plan.

The cause of the structural failure was under investigation.

In the early evening, federal officials began allowing northbound foot traffic to be processed through the station again.

At midnight, Customs and Border Protection officers will be able to use 13 vehicle lanes to process travelers, Wasiluk said. Customs and Border Protection will also re-open the bus lane at the San Ysidro port of entry. SENTRI members can continue to use the SENTRI access lane they would normally use to travel to the border crossing, Wasiluk said.

To help alleviate traffic, Tecate Port of Entry in the far southeastern reaches of the county was to remain open through the night, instead of closing at 11 p.m. as usual, according to Wasiluk.

Categories: KUSI