At least 69 people were injured at Camp Randall Stadium on Saturday, eight seriously, when fans rushed the field at the end of a University of Wisconsin football game -- pinning dozens against an iron railing at the base of the stands and trampling others.
A total of 16 people, including seven in intensive care, remained in hospitals late Saturday night with various neurological and orthopedic injuries, according to hospital reports.
Listed in serious condition at Meriter Park Hospital was Sari Weinstein, a UW-Madison senior, who had been pulseless and not breathing but was alert when she was admitted.
Five of the patients in intensive care were at University Hospitals, one at St. Mary's and one at Meriter Park. Their names had not been released by the hospitals at press time.
The last seconds of Wisconsin's 13-10 win over Michigan had just ticked away when an estimated 12,000 elated fans in the student section rose up and swooped down the stands, seemingly in unison.
But the cascade stopped abruptly at the three-foot-high railing, crushing people in the front row. Uniformed security police tried to hold the crowd back.
They failed, and backed off. The force of the crowd broke the railing from its concrete moorings along a 40-yard stretch around the corner of the north end zone, sending people sprawling onto the frigid asphalt track.
Those who couldn't scramble free were either pressed against parts of the railing that was still standing, got trampled or were pinned against another barrier in front of them -- a low, aluminum chain link fence surrounding the field.
For students in the crunch, it was horrifying.
"You couldn't see anything, and you couldn't breathe," said Jessica Johnson, 19, sobbing and ashen.
James Shallue, 20, lay injured on a stadium bench afterward. He had started about 20 rows up from the field, but the force of the crowd carried him down to near field level.
"Everybody was pushing. Then the rail broke and they kept coming and wouldn't quit," Shallue said.
Seth Erlich, who was sitting midway up the bleachers in section P, said when the railing gave way, people in back tumbled over those in front, piling bodies about 10 feet high.
University Police Chief Susan Riseling said she directed officers during the last minute of the game to let fans onto the field because police were vastly outnumbered.
"There are not enough police in all of Dane County to handle 12,000 surging people in that section," Riseling said.
Despite those orders, about 30 uniformed police initially confronted the surge in the student sections, pushing people back.
"At first, the police didn't want to let people through. I thought that was a mistake," said Jeff Kuenning, a blue-clad security officer working for Per Mar, a company that provides security for UW football games.
The stadium announcer eventually called a "code one thousand," meaning security should let the fans come through. Security was ordered to back off and protect the goal posts.
But the surge had already pushed people down through the fences and onto the ground.
Of the 69 injured people taken to the hospital, 53 were treated and released Saturday.
After the surge, rescue work started slowly.
The police moved in again -- this time to try to free injured people and pull bodies off those at risk of suffocating.
"There were two layers of people," Kuenning said. Next to the chain link fence surrounding the field, he spotted a woman on the ground. He pulled her over the fence and was surprised to find another woman under her.
Some of the Wisconsin football players came over to the student section to help rescue workers and to ask fans to back off and give them room. Many did.
As the field filled with people, the stadium announcer said, "We need paramedics at the north end zone immediately." Few people in the stadium could see the pile-up. Many were watching instead as two dozen young men climbed onto the north goal post.
While medical help was being summoned, the band stuck up "Varsity," the school song, and the crowd complied with the traditional singing and waving.
For several minutes the revelry on the field continued, despite announcements that there were "seriously injured people in the northeast corner."
Then, the announcer said: "We have a pulseless non-breather at the north end of the field. This is not a joke."
That seemed to stop everyone cold.
Dozens of people in Section O started to walk back up into the upper stands, relieving the pressure there. Students began clearing away from the sidelines where the fences had given way.
Soon the impact of the surge became clear. Unconscious people were lying on the asphalt, some bleeding. Others were prostrate on stadium benches and on the field.
Ambulance crews arrived, one after another, driving the length of the field. The first few had to plow through a sea of people. Calls of "We need braces here," and "Suction over here" could be heard above the now-hushed crowd.
Women sobbed, sitting next to injured friends and strangers. Rescue workers attended to the most seriously injured first and whisked them away.
A man lying on the field was told by rescue workers to prepare himself, that the upcoming procedure was going to hurt. The rescue worker then jerked his leg straight. The man grunted. "You did good," the rescue worker said.
Nearly 45 minutes after the end of the game, people on stretchers were still being loaded into ambulances. Additional emergency help was called in from surrounding communities.
Emergency rooms at the three hospitals were jammed. "We have an emergency room full of stunned, walking wounded," said Meriter Park Hospital spokesperson Mae Knowles. "I don't think we've ever had anything like this."
Knowles said the hospital's crisis plan went into effect immediately, and many off-duty doctors and nurses were at the game and either administered aid at the stadium or came directly to the hospital.
Social workers and pastors were called in to deal with victims and families.
At University Hospital, the emergency plan was implemented around 3:30 p.m., according to spokesperson Mary Lee.
UW Hospital nursing director Mary Jorgenson said there were some crushing head injuries, and there were some patients who had not been breathing and had to be resuscitated.
Jorgenson said the incident happened at the shift change, so all staff were asked to remain on duty.
Stacia Dubin, 21, was with Weinstein, one of the Meriter Park patients, when the chaos began. "Everybody was charging down onto the field. You really didn't have a choice."
Dubin said she got separated from Weinstein. "We were just waiting outside to see if she would come out, and she didn't come, and then somebody told us that she had been injured."
The student section had been loud but mostly orderly throughout the game. The low score left them little to cheer about. The game wasn't decided until the last few minutes, and tension built rapidly in the crowd as Wisconsin held onto the ball and the game's outcome became obvious. The emotion spilled over in a surge.
Afterward, Greg Baribeau sat with two injured women. He had been sitting one-third of the way up in the stands and was driven down by the crowd.
"I ended up on the bottom of the pile next to these girls," he said.
Hats, gloves and scarves littered the student section after the chaos. The railing was bent like a coat hanger, 3/4-inch bolts yanked out of concrete.
UW-Madison Chancellor David Ward said he had never seen anything like the sudden press of students, even at unruly soccer games in his native England.
"It was one of the most abrupt events I've ever witnessed," Ward said. But he added the incident was so unprecedented that it should not be taken as a reflection on the character of UW-Madison students.
Ironically, the Badger Herald, a student newspaper, had run an advertisement Friday asking what "75,000 Badger fans do that Michigan's Heisman trophy candidate Tyrone Wheatley won't?
"Rush the field Saturday afternoon," the ad said.
Reporters Cary Segall, Patricia Simms, Phil Brinkman and Mike Dorsher contributed to this story.