Pedestrian footbridge collapses in Florida, fatalities reported

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Washington, March 16 (IANS) A pedestrian footbridge near Florida International University (FIU) in the US has collapsed, causing “several fatalities,” officials said.

“There are several fatalities,” Florida Highway Patrol officer Alex Camacho told the media on Thursday.

“There are five to six vehicles underneath that are crushed,” Camacho said, Xinhua news agency reported.

Miami-Dade County police said at least eight cars had been crushed under the walkway, while hospital sources were quoted as saying that at least eight persons had been transported to the trauma centre at Kendall Regional Medical Center.

The bridge, still under construction, was supposed to link a FIU campus with a nearby residence area.

The FIU said in a statement that it is “shocked and saddened by the tragic incident,” and is cooperating with first responders to rescue victims and gather information.

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Miami-Dade County Fire Rescue Department confirmed on social media that “multiple patients” have been injured and that search and rescue efforts are still underway.

The 950-tonne cable-supported bridge spanned 174 feet (53 metres) over a six-lane expressway. The main span of the bridge was put in place on Saturday morning by a rapid installation method. It is scheduled to open in early 2019.

The FIU said the innovative installation method was aimed to significantly reduce risks to workers, pedestrians and motorists and minimize traffic disruptions.

The project cost $14.2 million and was funded by the US Department of Transportation.

–IANS

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