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Swarbrick addresses tower accident

Observer Staff Report | Thursday, October 28, 2010

The University said it will not release information regarding the death of junior Declan Sullivan, who died when a film tower collapsed during football practice Wednesday, until the investigation concludes.

University President Fr. John Jenkins and Director of Athletics Jack Swarbrick spoke at a press conference at 2 p.m. Thursday.

Jenkins said the University could suffer “no greater sadness” than the death of one of its students.

“Declan Sullivan was a bright, energetic, dedicated young man and we will miss him greatly,” Jenkins said. “Notre Dame has faced similar tragedies before, and I believe it is [in] times like these that the depth and the care and the faith of this community shine most brightly.”

Jenkins will preside over a Mass in the Basilica of the Sacred Heart tonight at 10 p.m. The Mass will be “in Declan’s memory” and is for the “entire Notre Dame community,” Jenkins said.

Swarbrick said the University is launching an investigation into the death of Sullivan and said he would not speculate on why the film tower fell until the investigation was finished.

He did not comment on who made the decision for the football team to practice outside or for videographers to go up into the film towers.

Swarbrick and Jenkins emphasized that the University’s priority is the emotional well being of its students, Sullivan’s loved ones and the members of the football program who witnessed the incident.