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BREAKING: 'First-of-its-kind' bridge collapses in Florida; several fatalities reported

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A pedestrian bridge under construction in Miami, Florida, collapsed Thursday afternoon, resulting in multiple fatalities and injuries. (Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

A pedestrian bridge under construction in Miami collapsed on Thursday, crushing vehicles underneath its weight. Authorities reported multiple fatalities, with rescue crews still at the scene of the tragedy.

Alejandro Camacho, a spokesman for the Florida Highway Patrol said the bridge had crushed at least five or six vehicles which were still trapped. He confirmed, "Several people were killed. I just don't know how many."

While crews continue to search for survivors under the 950 tons of debris, first responders face significant challenges. According to reports and local media coverage, parts of the collapsed sections remain elevated.

On Saturday, the main span of the $9.3 million bridge was set in place. Florida International University celebrated the new construction, calling the installation process "first-of-its-kind." Named University City Bridge, the walkway connected the city of Sweetwater with FIU's campus.

The bridge was not yet open for pedestrian use at the time it fell.

In a statement, Munilla Construction Management, the firm building the bridge, said "Our family's thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. The new University City Bridge, which was under construction, experienced a catastrophic collapse causing injuries and loss of life. MCM is a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist. We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on the scene in every way."

The company who designed the bridge, FIGG Engineering, also responded to the bridge's failure, saying, "We are stunned by today's tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami. Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this accident. We will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why. In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before."

A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is being assembled to begin investigating the collapse.

University City Bridge was intended to provide a safe passage for pedestrians over Southwest Eighth Street. Last August, a Florida International University student was killed trying to cross the same street.

 

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