Officials: At least 6 dead after FIU bridge collapse

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The death toll of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse has climbed from four to “at least” six people, according to officials early Friday morning.At least 6 people are dead, 9 others injuredSen. Marco Rubio says workers were on bridge when it collapsedNext news conference between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., FridayRELATED: Officials: 4 dead at site of FIU bridge collapse, 9 hospitalizedDuring a 5 a.m. news conference, Alvaro Zabaleta, a Miami-Dade Police Department detective and public information officer, said he is only saying that “at least” six people have died because there might be more under the rubble when the bridge collapsed on Thursday afternoon.”There is a possibility, a sad possibility, that under the concrete there maybe additional vehicles,” Zabaleta said.He also said that the Miami-Dade Fire and Rescue has relinquished its lead on the operation to the police department.”This has turned into a rescue to a recovery operation,” he said.The identities, even the ages, races and sex, of the victims have not been released, Zabaleta said, adding that nine people were sent to a local hospital and it is believed that another person drove him or herself to that hospital.One of the dead died at the hospital, Zabaleta confirmed.During the overnight, crews have been cleaning up the debris from the deadly pedestrian bridge collapse that has also left nine injured.Investigators worked throughout the night at Florida International University trying to figure out what caused the bridge to collapse.HAPPENING NOW: A newly-installed pedestrian bridge has collapsed at @FIU, and there are at least 5 vehicles underneath. Video showed several people being loaded into ambulances.— Bay News 9 (@BN9) March 15, 2018U.S. Florida Sen. Marco Rubio tweeted that the cables that suspend the bridge had loosened and the engineering firm ordered that they be tightened. He said they were tightening them when it collapsed.The cables that suspend the #Miami bridge had loosened & the engineering firm ordered that they be tightened. They were being tightened when it collapsed today. https://t.co/9Uc9EUsDYY— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 16, 2018Zabaleta said that engineers warned that the rescue operation has to be done carefully, not just to preserve evidence and the victims who could be under the rubble, but to also keep rescuers safe.Engineers are concern for the rescue crews because the collapsed bridge is unstable, he said.Witnessing the bridge fallingMany who were there described chaos as they witnessed the bridge falling.”It sounded like a bomb. Multiple bombs in one. It was terrible. It was super loud. It sounded like the world was ending,” said one witness.Witnesses in shock, the bridge that just went up last weekend, now on the ground.”I couldn’t believe that it was falling. So I told myself, ‘Why would they do this. Why are they bringing the bridge down?’ I don’t understand what’s going on. I was in shock and when it finally hit me like, ‘This is bad,'” said Sweetwater Police Department Sgt. Jenna Mendez.Some ran towards the rubble to search for survivors.”I was on the way to work today and just a couple blocks away from me when it happened. When I saw happened I immediately got on the radio to get the word over to the incident location so we could start helping out. So when I ran up to the scene I saw multiple workers,” said Adrian Mesa, another sergeant with the Police Department.Witnesses say they saw construction crews on the bridge when it came down.”They were working on top and they fell several feet obviously,” described Mendez.Others on the scene say they crossed under the bridge just moments before it came crashing down.A witness described what happened to someone he knew as the bridge fell.”He was crossing the street at the moment that the bridge was coming down. And I don’t know if he was … I don’t know really. He was just severely injured,” the man said.What the bridge meant and its historyThe National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), the FBI and Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) are already on scene preparing to start their investigation and Gov. Rick Scott has directed the Florida Highway Patrol to send help with the search and rescue efforts and traffic control.Rubio has been an adjunct professor at FIU for the last 10 years and calls it home and it is ironic because the bridge was designed for safety. He said that there was so much pride and excitement that surrounded this project and what happened is heartbreaking.”To see it on the ground there today, and underneath it. Those who lost their lives as a result of this and those who have been injured. It’s just so tragic. We recognize that, even as we speak to you now, there are families whose hearts are being broken by the news or the thought that a loved one has perished,” Rubio said.The bridge, which was went up last weekend, cost $14.2 million and was supposed to open in 2019 as a safe way for students to cross the busy road. It was the first of its kind to be built using an accelerated bridge construction method.
Source: MyNews13