Five days ago a 950-ton modular portion of a new pedestrian bridge was “swung” into place on the campus of Florida International University (FIU) at 109th Avenue and 8th Street in Sweetwater, near Miami, Florida. On Thursday afternoon, the bridge collapsed, killing at least one person, and crushing a reported eight vehicles with an unknown number of occupants.
“We do know that there are 8 vehicles that they can see that are under there,” said Miami-Dade County Commissioner Joe Martinez. “In reality, nobody can tell you if it was a vehicle that only had a driver or had a driver and 4 passengers. So, when you’re asking about numbers, we really don’t know.”
Kendall Regional Medical Center confirms that they have two patients in critical condition and 8 others in stable condition. Additional patients were taken to other hospitals.
According to an FIU Twitter page, the last individual was pulled from the wreckage at about 4 p.m. Thursday. Rescue efforts are expected to remain underway throughout the night and clean up of the area will continue until it is once again deemed safe for travel.
Exactly how or why the bridge failure occurred is under investigation. Reports of engineering failure as well as a “stress test” being performed are also being investigated. MCM Civil Department and FIGG Bridge Engineers partnered to design and build the bridge, according to NBC 6.
The goal of the pedestrian bridge was to make transportation easier and safer for students and the community. In August 2017, incoming FIU freshman Alexis Dale was killed by a car while crossing 8th street.
The University stated that the modular construction method would reduce potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians, while minimizing traffic interruptions.
FIU issued the following statement: “We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge.”