Multiple People Dead After ‘First of its Kind’ Bridge Collapses Onto Drivers in Miami

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Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department personnel and other rescue units work at the scene Thursday where a pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed a few days after it was built. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

An unfinished pedestrian bridge in Miami collapsed just before 2 p.m. Thursday, killing an unknown number of people and crushing several motorists in their cars underneath.

First responders have yet to release an official number of deaths, but Miami Herald reporter Monique Madan tweeted that police confirmed “multiple casualties.” The newspaper reported that at least eight people had been taken to the hospital.

“At this point, we can’t even tell how many cars are under there,” one official told a local CBS News affiliate. “We won’t have a count on bodies for a while. It’s bad.
It’s really bad.”

The cause of the collapse is unclear. The bridge was built using a new technique developed at nearby Florida International University that was supposed to minimize traffic disruptions and reduce risks to workers, commuters, and pedestrians. The span of bridge was built along the side of the road while support towers were placed on either side. Construction had just passed a major milestone: Over several hours Saturday morning, the 950-ton span was elevated, rotated 90 degrees, and lowered onto its permanent position between the two towers.

The $14.2 million bridge, scheduled for completion early next year, was intended to connect the campus of Florida International University with the suburb of Sweetwater, where a large population of students live. In a Twitter post after the section’s completion, the university celebrated the project with a video and called the structure the first of its kind.

The South Miami–based Munilla Construction Management, founded in 1983, issued a statement on its Facebook page, promising an investigation into what went wrong. FIGG Bridge Engineers, a Tallahassee-based engineering firm founded 40 years ago, was also a partner on the project.

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Vehicles are seen trapped under the collapsed pedestrian bridge that was newly built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  Multiple People Dead After ‘First of its Kind’ Bridge Collapses Onto Drivers in Miami

MIAMI, FL - MARCH 15: Vehicles are seen trapped under the collapsed pedestrian bridge that was newly built over southwest 8th street allowing people to bypass the busy street to reach Florida International University on March 15, 2018 in Miami, Florida. Reports indicate that there are an unknown number of fatalities as a result of the collapse, which crushed at least five cars. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)  Multiple People Dead After ‘First of its Kind’ Bridge Collapses Onto Drivers in Miami gif base64 R0lGODlhAQABAAAAACH5BAEKAAEALAAAAAABAAEAAAICTAEAOw

Vehicles are seen trapped under the pedestrian bridge that collapsed just days after it was built near Florida International University in Miami.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images

Jaime Dunaway

Jaime Dunaway is a Slate intern.

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