Several reported dead after new Florida bridge collapses, crushing cars below

  • 16/03/2018

Between six and ten people have been killed when a newly-erected pedestrian bridge spanning several lanes of traffic collapsed at Florida International University on Thursday (local time), a US Senator has said.

Eight vehicles were trapped in the wreckage of the 950-tonne bridge and eight people have been transported to hospitals, officials told a news conference.

Emergency personnel with sniffer dogs searched for signs of life amid the wreckage of concrete and twisted metal that crushed vehicles on one of the busiest roads in South Florida.

At one point, police had requested television helicopters leave the area so rescuers could hear for any sounds of people crying for help, a Miami TV station said.

Photos show cars sticking out from underneath the wreckage, hoods completely flattened. They were reportedly stopped at a red light when the structure came down.

Several reported dead after new Florida bridge collapses, crushing cars below
Photo credit: CBS4

"There were no warning signs," an official told CBS4.

"We won't have a count on bodies for a while. It's bad. It's really bad."

The 950-tonne bridge was only opened on Saturday (local time), constructed off-site and then installed into place. The University tweeted a video of the installation on Saturday, describing the bridge as a "first-of-its-kind".

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully."

The University has now released a statement saying it is "shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding".

"At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information.

"We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene."

The bridge been long-requested by students at the university so they could avoid traffic, the Miami Herald reports.

In August 2017, a student was hit and killed by cars while crossing.

The National Transportation Safety Board was sending a team to investigate the bridge collapse.

White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders said President Donald Trump is aware of the collapse.

Florida Governor Rick Scott says he will be in "constant communication with law enforcement" throughout the day.

Reuters / Newshub.