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UPDATED: Newly Installed Miami Pedestrian Bridge Collapse Kills Six

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The death toll has risen to six in the aftermath of a catastrophic collapse of a pedestrian bridge installed six days ago spanning Eighth Street, a busy multi-lane highway in west Miami,  connecting the Florida International University campus.

Four persons were pulled from the rubble, by late Thursday evening with two others found overnight. Ten others suffered non-life-threntening injuries.

Miami-Dade Police, Fire and all public service entities working intensely through the night to determine if any others were trapped when the 950tons of cement slabs just fell without notice and flattened vehicles.

Even as the public service entities continue to work, Florida Governor Rick Scott has "directed the Florida Highway Patrol to offer resources to aid local law enforcement's response in Miami, They will be offering additional troopers to aid in search and rescue as well as traffic control," he said via twitter.


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At least a dozen vehicles were either directly beneath the 175 ft. bridge or positioned so a portion of the vehicle had come to a stop under the span when one survivor described the sound of pebbles hitting her car and in seconds, before concern set in or even thought about the sound, a groaning and then a collapse.

She was one of the lucky ones as the slabs flattened her car almost separating it from just behind the drivers seat. She walked away without physical injury. Others were not so lucky.

Approximately ten others have been rescued with varying injuries. Two required immediate surgery, the remainder suffered minor, non-life-threatening injuries.

Officials have now begun the invetigation process focusing on finding the reason behind the shocking devastation. Officials believe a "stress test" in process at the time of the incident could may have been a contributing factor. 

Scott, was joined at the scene by Senator Marco Rubio, explained that if anyone did anything wrong, "we will hold them accountable."  National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) officials arrive on Friday to begin ts investigation.

The disastrous tragedy comes six days after the instant bridge was lifted into place to much fanfare. The overpass had been heralded as an innovation in infrastructure construction with the span actually built on a site that had been erected on the roadside.

On Tuesday, FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg tweeted, "FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully." 

Today he tweeted, "Yesterday's tragic accident of the bridge collaspe stuns us. It saddens us. It's exactly the opposite of what we had intended. And we want to extend our deepest condolances to the family and loved ones of those who have been effected. The bridge was about collaboration, about neighborliess, about doing the right thing. But today we're sad. All we can do is promise a through investgation, getting to the bottom of this and mourn those whom we've lost."

The pedestrian bridge is what's called an "instant bridge." It was constructed in a few hours Saturday morning using a method called "accelerated bridge construction" and was lifted into place in less than six hours was connected and officially opened.


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Dr. Reid Castrodale, an Engineering consultant, of Concord, North Carolina, who remains an advocate of the accelerated bridge constructions, said in WFAE, "Accelerated bridge construction is simply the use of a number of different strategies to try to build bridges more quickly and have less interruption to the traveling public."

Sources: Various

Image courtesy of FIU Twitter

 

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