'Multiple deaths' as 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapses on top of cars and people on Florida college campus just days after it was installedDaily Mail
March 15, 2018
Emergency crews are rushing to the scene of a collapsed pedestrian bridge that has reportedly killed 'multiple people' and trapped cars on the campus of Florida International University in Miami.
The 174-foot bridge, which was installed last Saturday morning, was built to provide pedestrian access from FIU's main campus to an area that houses a number of student residences, according to the Miami Herald.
Television images captured from helicopter show numerous cars that were crushed by the weight of the bridge.
Images also show a number of emergency rescue workers crawling along the rubble in an attempt to spot survivors.
There is still no word as to the exact number of casualties, though numerous reports cite police statements indicating that several people have died.
Florida Highway Patrol says there are at least five cars underneath the debris, according to Vice News.
The 950-ton span, which was built over Tamiami Trail, was not yet open to pedestrians.
Tamiami Trail is considered a busy roadway, and the bridge was built in order to accommodate students who were fearful of crossing the highway.
Miami-Dade County Emergency Management confirmed the collapse and urged the public to avoid the area near SW 8th Street and 109th Avenue.
'We thought something fell,' Damany Reed, who witnessed the collapse, told CBS Miami.
'But then we saw the bridge collapse and it was just surreal at that moment. It was very scary.'
'Me and my boyfriend had just driven under the bridge,' witness Isabella Carrasco told CBSN.
'We actually commented on how new it was ... We had heard a loud bang. At first, we thought we had hit something, and when we looked around, we realized the bridge had collapsed. When we looked around we saw that it was much, much worse.'
FIU released a statement on Thursday, saying: 'We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwiter pedestrian bridge.
'At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information.'
A Colorado-based engineering firm, BDI, deleted a tweet on Monday that said it was 'thrilled to have provided structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move.'
The bridge, which was built at a cost of $14million, was touted by the school as an achievement when it was completed last Saturday.
'FIU is about building bridges and student safety,' FIU president Mark Rosenberg said on Saturday.
'This project accomplishes our mission beautifully. We are filled with pride and satisfaction at seeing this engineering feat come to life and connect our campus to the surrounding community where thousands of our students live.'
The school and the company which built the bridge boasted of the speed of its construction, which was aimed at reducing the traffic burden on the busy thoroughfare, according to the Miami New Times.
The bridge's planning was done at FIU's very own Accelerated Bridge Construction University Transportation Center.
'This [accelerated bridge construction] technique reduced potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and prevented traffic tie-ups in the area,' FIU wrote in a press release from five days ago.
FIGG Bridge Engineers, the company that designed the project, said the bridge was not expected to be open to foot traffic until sometime next year.