‘Multiple Deaths’ in Florida College Bridge Collapse

FIU Bridge Collapse
Screenshot/ABC News

A pedestrian bridge at suburban Miami’s Florida International University (FIU) collapsed Thursday, reportedly leaving multiple people dead and causing ‘mass casualties.’

The bridge extended over a busy highway and video from the scene showed cars trapped under the wreckage after part of the bridge fell onto the roadway:

One Miami Herald reporter, Monique Madan, cited police putting the death toll at at least five around 3 p.m. Eastern Daylight Time:

The death toll may have risen to six shortly thereafter, with another eight hospitalized, according to later police statements to the Miami Herald.

The catastrophically failed bridge was only put in place in the last week. As the FIU Twitter account made clear, it was built using a novel construction technique involving “swinging” pre-fabricated sections into place on site that the university called “first-of-its-kind.”

The technique, utilizing a device called a “self-propelled modular transporter,” was touted as an “instant bridge” at its unveiling and would eventually have been reinforced with a cable suspension system before it went into use.

According to a Miami Herald report, the bridge was not yet in use, scheduled to be completed next year. It would have connected FIU’s campus to the town of Sweetwater. “It’s about student safety and connecting with Sweetwater,” FIU President Mark Rosenberg said at the bridge section’s unveiling. “It reflects our attitude that we want to be part of the solution. We want to help, we want to bring people in, we’re inclusive. That’s who we are at FIU.”

The university issued a statement saying they were “working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene” in the unfolding tragedy. Police could be seen ushering medical workers onto the scene, later reported to include FIU nursing students and faculty:

Students were on spring break and it is unknown if any of the victims, presumably motorists below, were connected to the university.

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