11 Injured After Lighthouse's Catwalk Collapses

Doubling Point Lighthouse with Bath Iron Works in the background (James L. Woodward / CC BY SA 3.0)

Published Sep 10, 2023 8:27 PM by The Maritime Executive

On Saturday, a public engagement event sponsored by the U.S. Coast Guard at a historic lighthouse site in Maine went wrong: the access bridge to the light collapsed, resulting in multiple injuries. 

Every year, the Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation work together to open up about 20 historic lighthouse sites to the general public. Many are still active USCG aids to navigation sites, but all are owned and maintained by other government entities and private groups. 

One of these sites is the picturesque Doubling Point Lighthouse on the Kennebec River, about 2,000 meters south of Bath Iron Works. It was built in 1898 and transitioned to automatic operation in 1988; it still functions today with an LED-powered lamp. 

It is normally closed to the public, but on special occasions, visitors may access it using a three-span wooden catwalk. On Saturday, one of the bridge's spans collapsed while members of the public were on it. The accident occurred at low tide, a Bath Fire Department spokesman told AP, and the victims fell about 10 feet down onto a rocky flat below. 

First responders treated six people at the scene, and another five were taken to the hospital for further care. The lighthouse has been closed until further notice, and the local nonprofit that operates it has not given a timeline for its repair. 

Top image: Doubling Point Lighthouse with Bath Iron Works in the background (James L. Woodward / CC BY SA 3.0)