Authorities have confirmed that at least five people are dead, and another 40 are injured.
Among the victims are members of the Milwaukee Dancing Grannies, an amateur dance group for grandmothers that has been a fixture in the local parades for nearly four decades. On Facebook on Monday, the group suggested that members had died.
“Those who died were extremely passionate Grannies,” the statement said. “Their eyes gleamed …. joy of being a Grannie. They were the glue … held us together.
A representative of the group did not immediately return phone calls seeking more information, but the statement said the group would post more details as they became available.
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“The Milwaukee Dancing Grannies are devastated by this terrible tragedy,” the statement said, adding, “Our group was doing what they loved, performing in front of crowds in a parade putting smiles on faces of all ages, filling them with joy and happiness.”
Founded in 1984, the group performed choreographed pompom routines and dances at summer and winter parades across southern Wisconsin. A Facebook posting said members need only be “a grandmother or grandmother figure,” available for weekly practice, healthy and “ready to have fun.”
A spokesman for Children’s Hospital of Wisconsin, which treats only pediatric patients, said Monday on Twitter that its staff had treated 18 children who were injured in the parade. Details about their conditions were not immediately available.
Another hospital, Aurora Medical Center–Summit, said in a statement that it was treating 13 patients, including three in critical condition. Officials at Froedtert Hospital said they also had received patients but did not specify how many.
Officials with the Xtreme Dance team, another group that marched, asked for thoughts, prayers and “privacy to process the tragic events.”
The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Milwaukee said a priest was among the injured, along with parishioners and students at a local Catholic school.