A wall of ice collapsed Monday at the Titanic Museum Attraction, injuring three visitors to the popular tourist spot in Tennessee’s Smoky Mountains.
The Pigeon Forge Fire Department arrived at the museum at 8:11 p.m. after getting a 911 call reporting a traumatic incident, Chief Tony L. Watson told CNN.
Firefighters helped first responders triage the victims and prepare them for transport.
One patient was airlifted to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville about 30 miles away, Watson said. The other two were taken by ambulance to LeConte Medical Center in Sevierville. Their conditions have not been released.
“Needless to say, we never would have expected an incident like this to occur as the safety of our guests and crew members are always top of mind. We take pride in the quality of our maintenance and have measures in place to ensure that appropriate safety guidelines are upheld,” owners Mary Kellogg Joslyn and John Joslyn said in a statement posted on the museum’s Facebook page.
The museum bills itself as the world’s largest Titanic museum attraction and lets visitors stick their hands in 28 degree water to feel what passengers experienced on the cruise ship’s doomed voyage, according to its website. It also features a large, iceberg-shaped wall of ice that guests can touch.
“Something caused that ice to fall off of that wall,” Watson said.
Staff had closed the museum and were clearing the area by the time firefighters arrived. “The Titanic staff did an excellent job of getting people away from the area and downstairs then evacuating them out of the building,” Watson said.
The museum reopened on Tuesday, according to a post on its Facebook page.