Winnipeg workers inspecting site where 18 injured during school field trip

Mayor Scott Gillingham and Premier Heather Stefanson offering condolences and concern to those injured in the Fort Gilbraltar structure collapse, but the families of those involved are calling for answers. Edward Djan reports.

By The Canadian Press

Inspectors are reviewing the site of a popular tourist attraction to get a better idea of what may have caused a wooden structure to give way, resulting in the hospitalization of 17 children and one adult.

Winnipeg Mayor Scott Gillingham said the city was reviewing the site at Fort Gibraltar along with provincial Workplace Safety and Health workers Thursday morning.

“I’m hoping to get more information as to when the last inspection was,” Gillingham told reporters.

Several Grade 5 students were treated for broken bones and other injuries after falling 4 1/2 to six metres off a wooden structure at the site Wednesday. One adult was also taken to hospital.

Hospital officials said two remain in hospital in stable condition as of Thursday morning.

Paramedics were called to the venue in St. Boniface on Wednesday morning after receiving reports of a fall involving children aged 10 to 11.

Crews initially assessed 28 people before determining 18 need to transported to hospital.

“I want to wish everybody that was injured a speedy recovery,” said Gillingham.

“I know that (for) some of the children and the adults, too, that would be a very traumatic experience for them emotionally, even if they weren’t physically injured.”

Gillingham could not say what caused the wooden structure to give way or who was in charge for inspecting the site.

The city owns the site but it is leased to Festival du Voyageur, which operates it.

Chantal Vielfaure, director of marketing, communications and sale with Festival du Voyageur, said in an email the organization does not have any additional information at this time.

City facilities have regular inspections, but Gillingham could not say if those inspections were complaint-based or proactive.

Premier Heather Stefanson said the province will work with the city to ensure better safety mechanisms are put in place.

Workplace Safety and Health is aware of the fall and is investigating, a spokesman with the province said in an email.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 1, 2023.

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