Vehicles crushed and ‘multiple’ injuries in US university bridge collapse
The pedestrian crossing had only been installed on Saturday.
A new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a road at a Miami-area college, crushing at least five vehicles under massive slabs.
Several people were seen being loaded into ambulances and authorities launched search and rescue missions.
Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tweeted that “multiple” people were injured when the Florida International University bridge collapsed.
Authorities said they were working on confirming the numbers.
“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 US dollar bridge crossed over a busy seven-lane road 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 swung into place.
The “accelerated bridge construction” method was supposed to reduce risks to workers and pedestrians and minimise traffic disruption, the university said.
I’m on my way to Florida International University to be briefed by local law enforcement and university officials. pic.twitter.com/4RyoeELh9m— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) March 15, 2018
“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.
Florida’s governor Rick Scott tweeted that he was on his way to the scene.
“I will be in constant communication with law enforcement throughout the day,” the governor said.
MCM, the Miami-based construction management firm who won the bridge contract, took its website down on Thursday.
But an archived version of the website featured a news release touting the project.
“This our first Design-Build with FIGG Bridge Engineers, a nationally acclaimed, award-winning firm based out of Tallahassee. FIGG has designed iconic bridges all over the country, including Boston’s famous Leonard P. Zakim Bridge and Florida’s Sunshine Skyway Bridge.”
A message left at FIGG’s office in Tallahassee was not immediately returned.
Representative 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.
“Right now the most important thing is going to be to save people who are hopefully still alive,” he said.