Thursday, November 18, 1999 Published at 22:29 GMT
Students crushed in bonfire tragedy
Rescuers had to shift heavy logs to reach survivors
At least nine students were killed when a huge stack of logs piled up for a bonfire at an American football rally in the United States collapsed.
The Thanksgiving Day bonfire has been a tradition since 1909 to get fans in the mood for the American football game between A&M - known as Aggies - and arch-rival, University of Texas.
Around 28 students were injured. For hours, rescuers pulled people free from between the logs. One person was not freed until more than six hours after the collapse.
Cranes removed logs gingerly - one by one - to search for others possibly trapped.
Jenny Callaway, a student who was on the stack, said it just fell. She said there was no warning. "It just snapped," she said.
Bart Humphreys, a fire department spokesman, said: "Every piece of wood in that pile is unstable and every piece of wood that moves affects other pieces of lumber."
Texas Governor George W Bush said his thoughts were with the parents of the students killed.
"I just can't imagine what that means to have that happen to them," the governor said in a television interview. "It's sad, it's tough."
The logs had been piled up for the traditional bonfire at the university, about 130km (80 miles) north-west of Houston.
Thousands of logs are stacked high to build the bonfire, using cranes, tractors and crews of students. Students involved in the project get safety training in advance.
In 1994, a stack collapsed and a second was built and set on fire.
The university president said this year's bonfire had been cancelled, and "other events" would be held instead.