Pedestrian bridge collapses at Florida university
Several dead in bridge collapse at Florida International University
SWEETWATER, Fla. — A newly installed pedestrian bridge connecting the campus of Florida International University (FIU) with the city of Sweetwater west of Miami collapsed on Thursday, crushing several cars on the roadway below. Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alejandro Camacho tells CBS News there are “several fatalities” resulting from the collapse. He said the bridge was still under construction and not open to pedestrians.
in a video shows vehicles stuck underneath the 174-foot, 950-ton bridge. First responders were seen placing one victim in an ambulance. At least three patients were transported to the hospital, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
“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 on multiple cars. I didn’t see any pedestrians walking on the bridge. When we looked around we saw that it was much, much worse.”
“So many people go through this particular intersection every day, so it’s very terrifying,” Carrasco added.
Carrasco told www.BigupsGh.com she witnessed one construction worker sustain injuries. She says authorities pulled him to the side of the road and later transported him to a hospital by ambulance. She also witnessed paramedics performing CPR on another person at the scene.
FIU students are currently on spring break, reducing the number of pedestrians in the area.
White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said President Trump was aware of the situation. Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he will be on the scene to meet with local officials this evening.
In a statement, FIU said it was “shocked and saddened about the tragic events” at the bridge. The university says it is focused on rescue efforts and is “working closely” with first responders.
“Right now, the most important thing is to try and save these people who are hopefully still alive,” Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart told CBS Miami. “Our thoughts and prayers are with them and the first responders who constantly risk their lives.”
Two workers were replacing something on the side of the bridge when it collapsed, according to CBS Miami.
The bridge was constructed using an innovative approach called accelerated bridge construction (ABC), meant to reduce potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and prevented traffic tie-ups in the area. The bridge was the first in the world to be constructed entirely of self-cleaning concrete, which helps to reduce maintenance costs, according to a press release from the university.
Construction of the bridge, which cost $14.2 million, was expected to finish in early 2019. The 32-foot-wide bridge, which was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers and built by MCM, was supposed to be 289 feet long and 109 feet tall once completed.