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Railing Collapses at Army-Navy Game

December 5, 1998 GMT

PHILADELPHIA (AP) _ Eight Army cadets and prep school students were injured as they fell out of the stands during the game against Navy on Saturday when a railing collapsed, sending them tumbling about 15 feet to the artificial turf.

The uniformed fans were cheering for television cameras after Army took a 31-30 lead on a 70-yard touchdown run with 7:33 left in the game. A railing in the first row of the east end zone gave way, causing the personnel to fall.

Several stretchers were summoned, and the game was suspended with 6:08 left as four ambulances drove onto the field. The extent of injuries was not known. The injured were four cadets from the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y., and four students from academy prep school in Fort Monmouth, N.J.

The accident marred a thrilling, record-setting game in the 99th meeting between the rival academies. It also put into question the safety of Veterans Stadium, a 27-year-old multipurpose facility that was playing host to the game for the 15th time.

The railing fell between sections 271 and 272, where gray-uniformed cadets sat with prep students. The game was delayed at 3:20 p.m. EST.

Cadets and Midshipmen who had been cheering nearly nonstop since well before kickoff sat in eerie silence, clapping politely as the emergency vehicles left the field.

The accident happened after Army’s Ty Amey ran 70 yards for a touchdown that gave the Cadets a 31-30 lead after they trailed 30-19 at the start of the fourth quarter. The fans were cheering for CBS television cameras when the railing fell, sending them toppling to the artificial turf. It wasn’t on live TV, but CBS showed the replay.