Pedestrian Bridge Collapses at Miami College Campus, Killing ‘at Least Six People’
By David E. Hubler
Contributor, EDM Digest
A pedestrian bridge under construction at Miami’s Florida International University collapsed Thursday afternoon. “Police on the scene said at least six people could be dead,” the Miami Herald reported.
The bridge crashed across six lanes of the heavily traveled Tamiami Trail. It crushed “a still undetermined number of cars” and caused a chaotic scene of devastation.
The Florida Highway Patrol said five or six cars were trapped under the bridge. But Miami-Dade County police put the number “at least eight cars.”
Miami-Dade County Police Chief Juan Perez said that he wouldn’t venture to guess the number of cars that were crushed. He noted that first responders were having trouble getting to the vehicles.
South Florida’s WSVN Channel 7 reported that television news helicopters were ordered to back off so rescuers could listen for sounds from survivors.
Tactical Response Team Working to Secure Collapsed Bridge
CNN reported that a tactical response team with the Miami-Dade Fire Rescue was on the scene working to secure what’s left of the 950-ton pedestrian walkway. The team is also searching for victims.
Florida Governor Rick Scott said in a statement he had spoken with Perez, whose agency dispatched homicide detectives to the scene. That is standard practice in all mass casualty events, the Herald explained.
Scott’s office said the governor will visit FIU today to be briefed on the collapse by police and university officials.
Florida International University Official 'Shocked, Saddened' at Collapse
FIU spokesperson Maydel Santana-Bravo said, “We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater Bridge. At this time, we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information. We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene.”
Cause of Pedestrian Bridge Collapse to Be Determined
The collapse was “clearly a major failure of a project not expected to be completed until early 2019,” the Herald said. But there was no immediate explanation for what might have triggered the collapse.
The 320-foot long walkway was prefabricated at a cost of $9 million and installed in a single morning last Saturday. It was intended to link FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus with the small suburban city of Sweetwater, where the university estimates 4,000 of its students live.