WINNIPEG — As many as 17 children were sent to hospital Wednesday after a fall from a raised platform at Fort Gibraltar in St. Boniface.
The children, from St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, were on a field trip at the time when the incident happened just before 10 a.m. They range in age from 10 to 11.
Three of the children were listed in unstable condition and later upgraded to stable. At least one adult was also taken to hospital. As of Wednesday afternoon, 16 people had been released from hospital. One boy was admitted for observation overnight and will require surgery for a fracture.
“It could have been so much worse. We were prepared for the worst,” said Dr. Karen Gripp, medical director of the Children’s Hospital emergency department.
Gripp told reporters most of the injuries were orthopedic, meaning broken bones. There were no life-threatening injuries.
An HSC Winnipeg hospital spokesperson says a total of 28 people were initially assessed before 17 were transported to hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Jim Keefe, head of St. John’s-Ravenscourt School, released the following statement to the media:
During a Grade 5 field trip to Fort Gibraltar this morning, there was an incident that resulted in emergency services transporting 17 members of the SJR community to hospital. We contacted their parents and families. The remaining students and accompanying adults returned to school where faculty, staff and counsellors are caring for them. We contacted their parents who are coming to collect them.
We are doing everything we can to support our Grade 5 students and teachers and their families, and ask that you respect our privacy at this difficult time.
The mass casualty event sparked HSC Children’s Emergency Department to declare a code orange.
“This was a serious incident and we appreciate the contributions of staff involved in the care of the patients and their families,” Shared Health said in a statement.
“Discharges have begun and we anticipate that most will go home throughout the day.”
Fort Gibraltar is a historic site in Winnipeg’s St. Boniface neighbourhood and is a popular winter attraction during Festival du Voyageur. The site includes a raised wooden walking platform that sits about 15-20 feet above the ground.