The picturesque white bridge on the grounds of a former bed-and-breakfast in Pierce, Neb., was the perfect spot for a prom photo of 21 high school seniors, until it was not.
Instead of providing a timeless photo, the bridge collapsed under the weight of the prom-goers, sending 21 students in black tie and ball gowns knee-deep in mud and slush at the bottom of a 4-foot-deep creek.
“They went down in slow motion,” said Tami White, the homeowner, whose daughter Alisha was one of the seniors on the bridge.
“One girl started yelling, ‘Who’s videotaping this?’ as the bridge was coming down,” White said. “One mom beat all of the kids into the water because she could see it coming down.”
The group of 21 friends, all seniors at Pierce High School, posed at the White’s home before Saturday’s prom. Though the White’s property has five bridges, Alisha chose to take a photo on that particular bridge because it’s where she had her own senior photos taken.
One student, Lane Rohrich, who later posted a photo of the bridge collapse on Twitter, even joked as the group stood on the bridge that it was going to fall, according to White.
Moments later, Rohrich found himself and his friends in the mud.
“One girl fell between the land and bridge so her foot got pinched and it took several people to lift it off,” White said. ”We lost two iPhones because they were in the guy’s pockets and one guy lost his car keys.
“We have a pickup truck in our yard still because that was his only set of keys,” she said.
None of the students were injured and all 21 of them made it to prom, even the girl whose foot was pinched.
“Two girls wore their muddy dresses to the prom. Two stood in the shower with their dresses on and then had their moms and sisters blow-dry them,” White said. “One mom washed her daughter’s dress and brought it to her late.
“The other girls went home and got old dresses,” she said. “My daughter wore her dress from last year.”
A few bobby pins fixed the girls’ hairdos, White said, and the boys, in their tuxes, managed to escape without falling into the water, for the most part.
“The guys were able to jump to the shore,” White said. “A few fell in but most of them made it off.
“Their shoes weren’t high heels.”
The Whites plan to rebuild the bridge this summer so it will not be ready in time for high school graduation photos, if the students had dared. White said her daughter’s friends were good sports about it all and even offered to help rebuild the bridge.
“My daughter was just worried that everyone would be mad at her,” White said. “A lot of the girls couldn’t get new prom dresses until senior year and this was it.
“I think by the time they made it to prom, everyone was laughing and having a great time.”