A disaster is unfolding in South Florida on Thursday afternoon, right in the heart of Miami, reports Fox News live coverage from the scene. This brand new bridge is the first of its kind and it was still under construction when it crashed into the eight lanes of traffic on the highway below.
The pedestrian bridge was brought in after it was made off-site and the solid span was dropped into place on Saturday. It hadn’t opened to pedestrian traffic as of yet. The 950-ton bridge was 174 feet long and was made of solid concrete, which is now on the roadway below trapping people in their cars.
Reports from the mayor of the city indicate there are eight cars underneath this collapsed bridge, according to Fox News live coverage. The bridge was designed to connect the FIU campus to Sweetwater and it is the first of its kind when it comes to the construction of the bridge.
This elevated span for the bridge was built off-site and then brought in and dropped in place just a week ago. The bridge was constructed to provide a safe way for Florida International University students to get across a busy roadway. It was also designed to stay intact in hurricane-force winds.
According to the Miami Herald, the bridge was due to be completed in 2019. This bridge collapse has left the busy roadway below covered in tons of concrete, in what looks like the aftermath of an earthquake, which is how several witnesses describe the look of the scene.
Helicopters are barred from overhead to help lessen the outside noise so the rescuers can use sensitive listening devices to locate any buried survivors. Right now the rescuers are making an assessment of the possibility of anyone being alive buried beneath the debris.
The number of injured isn’t clear right now, but it is reported that several people have been transported to area hospitals. The witnesses who were immediately on the scene report hearing screaming and cries for help underneath the debris.
While there was no pedestrian traffic on the closed bridge, it is not known if any construction workers were on the span of concrete when it collapsed. According to the reports on TV News people in the area are panicking if they cannot get ahold of their loved ones.
NBC News reports this bridge collapsed “killing several” people in the debris. “The Florida Highway Patrol confirmed the fatalities after multiple vehicles were crushed by the span near Florida International University’s campus.”
There is no way of knowing who was underneath the bridge at the time of this collapse and according to reports, this is going to take “quite some time” to sort out who is missing. The only way to get to the trapped people buried beneath the rubble is to lift the concrete slabs off the roadway and that entails getting cranes in place. This is a tedious and time consuming job as they don’t want the debris to shift and crush anyone who may be left alive under the rubble.