Multiple cars and people were trapped under a newly constructed bridge at Miami’s Florida International University after it collapsed Thursday.
Officials said there are at least six fatalities. They didn’t expect to find any more survivors amid the rubble. Ten victims were also taken to hospital.
The Miami-Dade homicide bureau is leading an investigation into the collapse.
Governor Rick Scott said investigations are being conducted at the local, state and federal level. He promised to hold anyone accountable if there is evidence of wrongdoing.
Rescuers worked through the night in Miami, south Florida, on Friday, combing through rubble from a newly erected pedestrian bridge that collapsed across a multi-lane road the day before, trapping cars underneath and killing at least six people.
The 950-ton span fell on Thursday afternoon at Florida International University’s main Miami-area campus.
Surveillance footage obtained by the Miami Herald shows the bridge crumbling to the ground almost instantaneously:
Miami-Dade Police Department spokesman Lee Cowart added early Friday that authorities didn’t anticipate finding anyone else alive amid the rubble. The more than 100 rescuers on the scene were shifting their focus to excavating remains and trapped cars.
“That whole structure is considered unsafe right now,” Cowart said.
Officials added that the bridge would have to be removed piece by piece because of its instability in a news conference late Thursday.
“This is going to be a long, long process because to get through that rubble and the pieces of concrete laying there is not going to be an easy task,” Miami-Dade Police Chief Juan Perez.
He noted earlier that the police department’s homicide bureau would take the lead on the investigation and that the local state attorney’s office was “on standby.”
The bridge was only lifted into place on Saturday and was still under construction with completion expected by early 2019, according to the school.
Cars were stopped beneath the bridge at a traffic light when it suddenly gave way, the Miami Herald reported.
Photos posted on social media showed at least five cars trapped beneath the bridge. Most of them appear to be completely covered by the fallen debris.
An emotionally distressed Mario Valdez was interviewed by WSVN at the scene and said that he’d heard his friend was walking beneath the bridge when it abruptly collapsed on him.
“He was crossing the street at the moment that the bridge was coming down,” Valdez told the local station. “He was rushed to the hospital. I don’t know. I’m just so worried.”
Students at the university are currently on their spring break vacation, which runs from March 12 to March 17.
Television footage showed firefighters were walking across the flattened wreckage and medics treating injured people.
Emergency personnel appeared to be trying to work their way through a hole in the top of the bridge.
Munilla Construction Management, which installed the bridge, said in a statement on Twitter that the bridge suffered a “catastrophic collapse causing injuries and loss of life.”
“Our family’s thoughts and prayers go out to everyone affected by this terrible tragedy. The new UniversityCity Bridge, which was under construction, experienced a catastrophic collapse causing injuries and loss of life,” the statement read.
Munilla Construction Management was awarded the $9.3 million bridge project in partnership with FIGG Bridge Engineers.
Complicating the rescue effort was the uncertainty about the integrity of the bridge, parts of which remained off the ground, much of it inclined, local media reported.