Police say "mass casualty situation" after Miami bridge collapse

Multiple people confirmed dead

by Tess Owens
Mar 15 2018, 6:55pm

This story is developing, please refresh for updates.

A newly-erected pedestrian bridge at the Florida International University campus in Miami collapsed over a highway Thursday, creating what authorities are describing as a “mass casualty situation.”

It's still unclear how many people were affected, though the Florida Highway Patrol tells NBC that “several people are dead.” The Miami-Dade Fire Unit says there are also "multiple patients" injured, but that they are working to confirm the numbers.

Authorities also weren’t immediately sure how many vehicles were trapped under the 174-foot section of the collapsed “UniversityCity” bridge, which was built to create a safer pedestrian route between the campus and the city of Miami at a price tag of more than $14 million. The main span of the bridge weighs 950 tons.

As emergency response teams scrambled to pull the injured from their crushed vehicles, BDI Test, the Colorado-based company that provided structural monitoring to the bridge, deleted a tweet posted Monday saying they were “thrilled to have provided structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move.”

The bridge was installed on Saturday, the Miami Herald reports. At the time, the school declared it a victory.

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety," FIU president Mark Rosenberg said on Saturday. "This project accomplishes our mission beautifully. We are filled with pride and satisfaction at seeing this engineering feat come to life and connect our campus to the surrounding community where thousands of our students live.”

In press materials, the school emphasized the installation was planned around speed."This technique reduced potential risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and prevented traffic tie-ups in the area," the university wrote in a release obtained by the Miami New Times.

Cover image via Florida WSVN 7

This article originally appeared on VICE News US.

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