Balcony collapses at Montana casino, dozens injured

Saturday, July 31st 2004, 11:46 am
By: News On 6

POLSON, Mont. (AP) _ A balcony at a popular bar and casino collapsed with dozens of people on it, injuring more than 50, officials said Saturday.

There were no immediate reports of any deaths from the accident late Friday night at the Diamond Horseshoe Casino.

Polson Fire Chief Tom Maloney said it was not immediately clear what caused the collapse.

``Most of the victims appear to be young folks enjoying a night out,'' he said.

Investigators were expected to return to the scene on Saturday to inspect the rubble of the wooden structure.

An official at Polson's St. Joseph Hospital said 54 people were treated there for injuries sustained in the collapse, but she declined to release any details on the extent of injuries.

Maloney said most of the injuries did not appear to be life-threatening and consisted of a lot of broken legs and ankles.

Emergency crews were called late Friday night and found a ``chaotic scene,'' Maloney said.

``There were injured people all over the ground, a lot of people wanting immediate help,'' he said.

More than 30 with the most serious injuries were taken to the local hospital by a dozen ambulances, many of them brought in from neighboring communities. People with less serious injuries were transported in private vehicles.

Maloney said the bar and casino overlooking Flathead Lake is a popular night spot in Polson, made even more popular this weekend because of a three-man basketball tournament in town.