Published: Sat, March 17, 2018
Entertaiment | By Lawrence Myers

Miami bridge collapse: Death toll up to 6; officials seek answers

Miami bridge collapse: Death toll up to 6; officials seek answers

A pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed on Thursday, killing at least four people and trapping eight cars underneath.

Perez said the work had to pause at one point when the bridge shifted, raising fears that rescue workers could be trapped. He said the "search and rescue mode", deploying trained canines, search cameras and sensitive listening devices had been continuing into the night.

He added that at least nine victims were removed "early on" and transported to hospitals for treatment but did not elaborate on their condition. "There may be passengers they weren't able to see", he said.

FIU's campus will be open Friday, and officials said the school will offer counseling to students, faculty and staff.

The bridge was created to connect the city of Sweetwater with the campus of Florida International University and to make it safer for students to cross the frenetic roadway.

The bridge was scheduled to open early next year and created to withstand hurricane-force winds.

Munilla Construction Management was awarded the $9.3 million bridge project in partnership with FIGG Bridge Engineers.

Detectives declared the rubble a homicide scene, and the National Transportation Safety Board arrived to investigate.

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The walkway, which connected Florida International University to a student housing area, went up less than a week before. The timing of the holiday may have prevented an even bigger tragedy.

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart, who spoke at a ceremony celebrating the bridge's construction over the weekend, told CBS there were going to be a lot of questions that have to be answered about what happened.

The 174-foot-long (53-meter-long) bridge connected FIU with the city of Sweetwater and was installed on Saturday in just six hours, according to a report posted on the public research university's website.

"I would look directly at the contractor and bridge engineer, and I would look most closely at the construction firm", said Stuart N. Ratzan, the Ratzan Law Group Miami shareholder who in 2017 won a $45 million verdict against a construction company over a crash on Interstate 75.

A statement from the university said that Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC) technology was used in the construction of the pedestrian bridge.

It has been confirmed that workers were on the top of the bridge, and there were "surface rescues" as well as two people pulled out of the debris.

The bridge's span was just installed Saturday, an effort to boost safety on a busy street where an FIU student was fatally struck by a vehicle past year.

The pedestrian bridge collapsed at 1:45pm ET on Thursday.

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The method allows crews to build a bridge in a separate location before moving a near-final product into place.

Gov. Rick Scott said he was headed there as well.

Police and medical personnel respond to the fatal bridge collapse in Florida.

"In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before", the company said.

MCM Construction said it would participate in "a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong".

The main span of the bridge was installed on Saturday.

"This bridge was about collaboration, it was about hope, it was about opportunity, it was about determination", he said. Multiple cars were pinned under 950 tons of metal and concrete after the bridge collapsed.

"Work zone accidents are a problem with any construction project, and minimizing the amount of time that the workers are exposed to traffic makes it safer for everybody", she said.

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FIGG was fined in 2012 after a 90-ton section of a bridge it was building in Virginia crashed onto railroad tracks below, causing several minor injuries to workers.

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