Pedestrian footbridge collapses in U.S. state of Florida, fatalities reported

Updated 2018-03-16 09:10:08 Xinhua

A pedestrian footbridge near Florida International University (FIU) collapsed Thursday afternoon, causing "several fatalities," local authorities said.

"There are several fatalities," Florida Highway Patrol officer Alex Camacho told the media, "There are five to six vehicles underneath that are crushed."

Miami-Dade County police said at least eight cars had been crushed under the walkway, while local media quoted hospital sources as saying that at least eight people had been transported to the trauma center 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.

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-ton cable-supported bridge spanned 174 feet (53 meters) 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 U.S. dollars and was funded by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

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