BREAKING NEWS – A newly installed pedestrian bridge that connects Florida International University (FIU) with the city of Sweetwater west of Miami collapsed today. Florida Highway Patrol Lt. Alejandro Camacho said there are “several fatalities” resulting from the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. He said the bridge was still under construction and not open to pedestrians.
At least three patients were transported to the hospital, according to Miami-Dade Fire Rescue.
Aerial footage shows vehicles stuck underneath the 950-ton bridge. First responders were seen placing one victim in an ambulance.
“Me and my boyfriend had just driven under the bridge,” witness Isabella Carrasco said. “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 said 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.
Students attending classes at FIU are currently on spring break, which likely reduced 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 says he has been in touch with local police and is monitoring the response.
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 said. “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.
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.
Construction of the bridge, which cost $14.2 million, was expected to finish in early 2019.