GREAT FALLS – The suspension bridge in Belt has been torn down after being damaged over the weekend.
Witnesses said the bridge collapsed after people were on it jumping up and down and making it swing back and forth. The witness accounts differ, stating anywhere between six and 20 people were on the bridge at the time.
The bridge went down slowly due to the cables, so there were no serious injuries.
Authorities plan to file charges against the people responsible.
Belt Mayor Jim Olson lives only a few hundred feet from the bridge and heard when it happened.
He said the damaged bridge is a huge loss for Belt.
“This was an icon for our community," he said. "People have come from all over to go to the brewery and to go to the swinging bridge. I think people all over the country are mourning the loss of this bridge today."
Olson added that a lot of people were in town over the weekend for the Craig Cummings Memorial Basketball Tournament.
The suspension bridge was built in 1931, but the cable structure was only 40 years old.
In 2011, crews replaced the side railings, wood, and cables.