After a bad loss to Navy last weekend, the team took to the practice field despite winds gusting up to 51 miles per hour.
High above the field, 20-year-old Declan Sullivan, a junior from Long Grove, Ill. who also worked as a team videographer, was taping that practice in a portable lift.
It was 3:22 p.m., reports Pete Byrne of CBS affiliate WSBT in South Bend, Ind. Practice was just starting, when Sullivan tweeted a grim premonition: "Gusts of wind up to 60 mph. Well today will be fun at work. I guess I've lived long enough."
The tower holding Sullivan stood about 50 feet above the ground and, according to experts, shouldn't have been used in winds exceeding 25 mph.
At 4:06 p.m., a clearly distressed Sullivan tweeted again, "Holy (blank). Holy (blank). This is terrifying."
Some 45 minutes later, , crashing through a fence and landing on the street below.
Sullivan was rushed to a hospital, where he later died.
"It's pretty horrific to think about it, to say the least," one Notre Dame student told WSBT. "Something like this is definitively going to hit the campus hard."
The day before, Byrne notes, under similar conditions, the team practiced indoors. Notre Dame didn't comment about the switch to the outdoor field, even though South Bend was under a wind advisory at the time.
A memorial mass was to be held for Sullivan at Notre Dame on Thursday.
The incident is under investigation.