Just awful. A pedestrian overpass at a Florida university collapsed earlier this afternoon, causing what one Miami Herald reporter was told would be “mass casualties.”
At least six people were injured Thursday afternoon when a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University collapsed onto six lanes of road traffic and police believe multiple people have died.
A reporter on scene said Miami-Dade police confirmed “mass casualties” due to multiple cars stuck under thousands of pounds of concrete.
As NPR reports, the bridge was installed less than a week ago:
The bridge was installed at Southwest 109th Avenue Saturday morning, intended eventually to provide pedestrian access across Tamiami Trail from FIU’s main campus to Sweetwater, where thousands of students live in off-campus housing or in FIU’s newer dorms. MCM Construction and FIGG Bridge Design collaborated on the $14.2 million cable-supported bridge. Details about the bridge from a press release about its opening:- 174 feet long- Was put in place on March 10, 2018.- Weight – 950 tons- Largest pedestrian bridge move via Self-Propelled Modular Transportation, in U.S. history, according to senior project manager Rodrigo Isaza, from MCM, which partnered with FIGG Bridge Engineers to design and build the bridge.
This woman nearly ended up under the wreckage. She tells MSNBC that seven or eight cars got crushed under the bridge when it fell:
“I was three seconds away from being under the bridge.”
Witness who drove through the intersection moments before the bridge collapsed says she fears those trapped beneath are “all dead.” pic.twitter.com/0zHQAFMIHB
— MSNBC (@MSNBC) March 15, 2018
An engineering student at FIU tells CNN about his excitement over the bridge’s installation over the weekend.
“I can’t describe it, we were so excited about the bridge … And now just seeing it like this, I don’t know how to explain it,” eyewitness Ricardo Dejo says of the collapsed bridge in Miami that was just installed on Saturday https://t.co/WSSW5yJ4Bm pic.twitter.com/3x0ewcsq1K
— CNN (@CNN) March 15, 2018
At the White House, Sarah Sanders told the press that the president had been made aware of the tragedy. Governor Rick Scott sent out word that he was on his way to the campus to find out what happened:
I have spoken with Miami-Dade County Police Chief Juan Perez about the pedestrian bridge collapse at FIU. I will be in constant communication with law enforcement throughout the day.
— Rick Scott (@FLGovScott) March 15, 2018
Senator Ben Nelson wants the National Transportation Safety Board to begin an investigation immediately, too. There will undoubtedly be several agencies looking into this failure, especially given its days-old installation.
Bear in mind the usual caveats on breaking news stories. Details will change as reporting becomes clearer, and hopefully the number of casualties will not be as high as first responders are indicating as of now. We’ll keep an eye out for firm developments as they happen. In the meantime, pray for everyone impacted by this tragedy.