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24 injured after beach house deck collapses during family photo

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EMERALD ISLE, N.C. -- The deck of a North Carolina vacation home collapsed Saturday evening, sending a family plunging to the ground more than 10 feet below, authorities said.

The family was trying to take a photo at the rental home in Emerald Isle, on the Carolina coast, when the raised deck gave way, Emerald Isle Fire Chief Bill Walker said.

In total 24 people were injured, including two critically, he said. Injuries range from cuts and scrapes to critical injuries such as broken bones and concerns overs spinal injuries.

'I've never seen anything like that before," witness Jonathan Beasley said. "For a second I was in a shocked state, but I just kind of pushed through it. Bones sticking out of one elderly lady's elbow, and I think she had another bone sticking out somewhere else."

The cause of the collapse was not immediately clear. The deck, which was elevated on stilts, left a heap of broken wood beams on the ground. Investigators said deteriorating nails might have contributed to the accident.

About one-third of the deck fell, CNN affiliate WNCT said. Witnesses told the affiliate that the family was visiting from Virginia.

According to Zillow.com, the six-bedroom house, valued at $1.1 million, was built in 1986.