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Death toll rises to 6 after collapse of Miami footbridge
March 16 2018 09:58 AM
Miami bridge
An aerial view shows the collapsed pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami.

AFP/Miami

The death toll from the collapse of a pedestrian bridge has risen to at least six, Miami police said on Friday as crews searched under the huge concrete slabs which fell onto a busy highway. 
The operation has shifted from rescue to body recovery, with engineers fearing the support structures at either end of the bridge could also come down, Miami-Dade police spokesman Alvaro Zabaleta told reporters. 
"The entire bridge is in jeopardy," he said.
The walkway, which connects Florida International University to a student housing area, went up less than a week ago but was not yet operational.
Ten people were taken to hospital, Zabaleta said, with emergency crews working all through the night at the scene.
Video footage on CNN shows the concrete structure suddenly crashing onto the road below. 
At least eight cars were trapped when the 950-tonne bridge suddenly gave way on Thursday, Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Division Chief Paul Estopinan said earlier. 
Police detective Juan Carlos Llera said when the bridge came down, it "sounded like an explosion. A huge bang."
"It looks like a disaster area. It looks literally like a bomb went off," Llera told AFP.
Loose cables 
The bridge was suspended from cables which had come loose and while they were being tightened, the whole thing collapsed, Florida Senator Marco Rubio wrote on Twitter. 
The bridge had only been installed on Saturday, ahead of its planned opening in 2019.
Isabella Carrasco, who arrived at the scene shortly afterwards, told CNN some cars were completely crushed and that there was "a lot of debris everywhere."
She saw one woman get out of a car that was "just nicked" and rescue personnel performing life-saving CPR on another person in the road. 
Another shaken driver, Lynnell Collins, told CNN he was about to make a right turn when "the whole thing really just came down."
"I got out of my car and me and a few other people were sprinting over there. We started helping people whose cars were at least half crushed and whoever was easily saved."
He said he saw two trucks that were completely crushed.
The university had only recently been celebrating the construction of the bridge across a busy and dangerous section of highway that students said had been the scene of accidents.
It had been erected using an accelerated modular building method that enabled it to go up in the space of a day.

Last updated: March 16 2018 02:47 PM


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