Sat | Aug 24, 2019

Report: Multiple injuries, several deaths in pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami

Published:Friday | March 16, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Emergency personnel respond after a brand-new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a highway at Florida International University in Miami on Thursday, March 15, 2018. The pedestrian bridge collapsed onto the highway crushing multiple vehicles and killing at least four people.

MIAMI (AP):

A new pedestrian bridge collapsed on to a highway at a Miami-area college yesterday, crushing at least five vehicles under massive slabs and killing several people, authorities said.

Several people were seen being loaded into ambulances, and authorities launched search and rescue missions. Florida Highway Patrol Lt Alejandro Camacho told CBS News that there were "several fatalities".

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tweeted that "multiple" people were injured when the Florida International University bridge collapsed. Authorities said that they were working on confirming the numbers. The bridge was still under construction and expected to open to foot traffic next year.

"We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge. At this time, we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information," the statement said.

The $14.2-million bridge crossed over a busy seven-lane highway that divided the university's campus from the city of Sweetwater. The 950-ton span was installed on Saturday to great fanfare. The main part of the 174-foot span was assembled by the side of the road and had to be moved into place. The "accelerated bridge construction" method was supposed to reduce risks to workers and pedestrians and minimise traffic disruption, the university said.

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully," FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in the statement on Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene. Governor Rick Scott tweeted that he was headed there as well.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said that the president was monitoring the situation and would offer whatever support was needed.

Cristina Rodriguez, a 23-year-old junior who was on spring break with other students, said she was not surprised when she heard the bridge had collapsed.

"I just felt the bridge was done too quickly to believe the bridge was stable and sound to support everything that was on there," said Rodriguez, who was not on campus yesterday but drives through the intersection almost daily.