Several Dead After 950-Ton Pedestrian Bridge Collapses at Florida International University

Officials said they're not certain that people are still trapped under the debris but they are continuing to search.

"I want you all to know that this bridge, five days ago we were celebrating, that it was in the process of being erected".

The death toll from the collapse of a pedestrian bridge has risen to at least six, Miami police said Friday as crews searched under the huge concrete slabs which fell onto a busy highway.

He added: "Our condolences to all the family members and loved ones to those who were injured and killed in this tragic accident". The victim's identity is being withheld pending family notification. At least nine others were injured, two critically.

Overnight, the search and rescue mission became a search and recover effort. It's also credited for safer work zones, less environmental impact, reduced weather-related delays and bridges that are more durable than those constructed using traditional methods, according to the FHA.

Fire Chief Dave Downey said at a news briefing Thursday evening that four deceased people had been found at the scene by first responders. Not only because we have to preserve evidence, not only because there might be possible victims under there and we have to treat it very delicately.

The moment of the collapse Thursday was captured on surveillance video as plumes of dust could be seen rising from the rubble.

One witness told ABC News that the screams coming from the cars were "terrifying". "Totally smashed to the ground".

Instead, it collapsed Thursday, months before it was to open, crushing cars on the street, killing at least six people and leaving investigators with the hard task of trying to figure out why it happened and who might be held responsible. The walkway, which spanned about 200-feet, was to connect FIU to the City of Sweetwater.

It had always been requested by students and staff at the university so they could avoid the traffic below, according to the Miami Herald. Downey said at a news conference Thursday evening that the work is unsafe and hard but is continuing.

"This bridge was about collaboration and was about hope and determination", said FIU president Marc Rosenberg. "Now we're feeling huge sadness, uncontrollable sadness". The school has always been interested in this kind of bridge design; in 2010, it opened "The ABC (accelerated bridge construction) Center", to help bridge professionals.

In FIGG's case, a 90-ton section of a bridge the company was building in Virginia collapsed in 2012.

"We were at my friend's house when we heard it fall, but we didn't know what it was", said student Stephanie Ayerdi, "and then we started walking to where all the ambulances were 'cause we saw helicopters, and then we saw that it had fallen". "And that's something I'm not going to be able to get out of my head because I'm a mother of a kid, too".

Firetrucks, police and other emergency vehicles were at the scene Thursday afternoon on the campus of Florida International University in the Miami area.

Munilla Construction Management, the company involved in the bridge build, posted a statement online which read: "Our family's thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this bad tragedy".

FIGG said in a statement, "In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before".

The three companies behind the bridge are Munilla Construction Management (MCM), FIGG Bridge Group and Bolton Perez Associates.

Rosenberg said: "Contracts were fully certified by the state". The statement said: "Under this project, it is the responsibility of FIU's design build team to select the firm used to conduct the independent, secondary review". The bridge was not expected to open to foot traffic until early next year, reports The Associated Press.

  • Leroy Wright