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THE NATION | IN BRIEF / PENNSYLVANIA

Gaping Crack Presaged Pier Tragedy, Guard Says

November 14, 2001|From Times Wire Reports

A nightclub pier in Philadelphia developed a foot-wide crack 2 1/2 hours before it collapsed last year into the Delaware River, killing three, a security guard testified.

Lawrence Price said during a preliminary hearing that he helped a manager put sheet metal over the crack so patrons of the Heat nightclub on the century-old pier wouldn't trip.

A judge is trying to decide whether to send the case to trial.

The nightclub operator, Eli Karetny, and the pier owner, Michael Asbell, face three counts of involuntary manslaughter and 43 counts of reckless endangerment, risking a catastrophe, failure to prevent a catastrophe and criminal conspiracy.

The defendants have said they were never warned that the pier was on the verge of collapsing.

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