TODAY   |  October 28, 2010

Tragic accident claims Notre Dame student

Declan Sullivan, a junior and a videographer for the school’s athletics department, was standing on a portable lift that toppled during high winds, leaving the young student dead. NBC’s John Yang reports.

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This content comes from a Full-Text Transcript of the program.

MEREDITH VIEIRA, co-host: And now to that tragedy apparently tied to the powerful storms that have rolled across much of the country. A Notre Dame student killed when a tower collapsed as he filmed football practice. NBC 's John Yang is in South Bend , Indiana , with details. John , good morning to you.

JOHN YANG reporting: Good morning, Meredith . You may be able to see the goal posts on the practice field where this accident took place. Officials are still trying to figure out just what happened. But early indications do point to high winds , part of a powerful storm system that triggered as many as 33 tornadoes since Tuesday. A candlelight vigil Wednesday night at Notre Dame just hours after the tragic death of a student. Twenty-year-old Declan Sullivan , a student videographer for the athletics department, was shooting football practice. Officials say he was standing on top of a tower when it toppled over. Sullivan was rushed to the hospital where he later died. A cameraman for the local NBC station was nearby when it happened.

Unidentified Man: I heard a loud crash. It had been really windy and there had been some noise so I didn't really think anything of it until I looked over at the gate to the practice fields and I saw people running out looking a little concerned. And as I got a little bit closer to it I realized that it was a little bit more serious.

YANG: The cause of the accident is still under investigation, but at the time winds in the area were reportedly as high as 50 miles per hour . Before practice began, Sullivan posted messages to his Twitter and Facebook accounts saying "gusts of wind up to 60 miles per hour . Well, today will be fun at work." Later he said, "This is terrifying." Within an hour the tower had collapsed. Sullivan 's death has shocked this campus where football is a way of life . Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly released a statement saying Declan "brightened the days for all that had the privilege to work with him, and the Notre Dame football family will dearly miss him." As the investigation continues, tonight the president of Notre Dame will preside over a special Mass in Sullivan 's memory. Meredith :