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Florida officials seek answers in FIU pedestrian bridge collapse

16 March 2018

University officials were urging students and others to stay away from the area where a pedestrian bridge collapsed while rescue efforts proceed.

"There is the sad possibility that under the concrete there may be additional vehicles", Zabaleta said.

"This project is an outstanding example of the ABC method", Atorod Azizinamini, chairman of the university's civil and environmental engineering department, told the university's news service when the walkway was erected Saturday.

Estopinan said MDFR has scores of technical rescue personnel on the scene.

"Miami-Dade county and our partner agencies. have been working feverishly in the search and rescue mode to ascertain how many victims there are and rescue as many as we can", Kemp told journalists. "We only work with certified contractors that have been approved by all the appropriate authorities".

"We're going to have to get to the bottom of that", he said. Sweetwater Mayor Orlando Lopez said at least one of the people who died was a FIU student.

The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate why it collapsed.

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Police say there is a full search and rescue operation under way at the site between the campus of Florida International University and student housing.

"We are truly saddened to hear that", Lopez said.

Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg said his university and a neighboring community were celebrating the campus' new pedestrian bridge less than a week ago.

Miami-based Munilla Construction Management, which reportedly took on the bridge contract, was accused in a lawsuit from earlier this month of hiring "incompetent, inexperienced, unskilled or careless employees".

Video posted to Twitter showed the bridge on top of several cars on Southwest Eighth Street near 109th Avenue, as police first responded to the scene.

Now that the search is not for survivors but for the recovery of possible remains and extraction of still-trapped vehicles, the excavation process will proceed more slowly and with the highest caution.

"The investigation is vital because we want to ensure that this accident doesn't happen again locally or anywhere else in this country".

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There was no immediate explanation for what might have triggered the collapse, which occurred shortly before 2 p.m. EDT.

Police work next to a crushed auto under a section of a collapsed pedestrian bridge, March 16, 2018 near Florida International University in the Miami area. "All of a sudden I saw the bridge collapse, and it started from the left side of the bridge and it really shocked me", said Susie Bermudez.

"I was near the light".

"I will be in constant communication with law enforcement throughout the day", the governor said. Tesha Allison, a lawyer for the plaintiff, Jose Perez, said he suffered broken bones and spinal injuries. Additional patients may have been admitted to other facilities.

A bridge over Interstate 15 in Mesquite, Nevada, which the Federal Highway Administration says was put in place in just six hours in January 2012. FIU runs parallel to it and it's the 109 building, which is a dormitory for the students, is right in front of where the crash happened.

The bridge was created to withstand the strength of a Category 5 hurricane, according to a fact sheet on FIU's website, and was supposed to last for more than 100 years. Rubio said the public and the families of the dead and injured deserve to know "what went wrong". "They were being tightened when it collapsed". Scott and Rubio said they were prepared to hold anyone responsible for the tragedy accountable. The Virginian Pilot reports four workers were hurt and that state regulators fined FIGG $28,000 for safety violations saying it was "pure luck no one was killed".

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Florida officials seek answers in FIU pedestrian bridge collapse