6 dead in Florida bridge collapse

Officials expect to find additional victims under debris
WASHINGTON: At least six people were killed when a pedestrian bridge collapsed on to a roadway below, authorities in the state of Florida confirmed Friday.
“This is a tragedy that we do not want to reoccur anywhere in the United States,” Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez told reporters. ”
Authorities switched operations from search and rescue to a recovery mission late Thursday after exhausting resources. State, local and federal investigators are trying to determine what caused the collapse, but officials cautioned the probe as well as the recovery effort will take time.
Officials expect to find additional victims under the debris.
The $11.4 million 950-ton bridge, which stretched across a highway in Miami, was installed last Saturday using an innovative method called accelerated bridge construction in which it was built to the side and later raised by a rig, swung over the highway and dropped into place. The method is aimed at reducing risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and preventing traffic issues.
Although it was not on campus property, the bridge was frequently used by pedestrians from Florida International University, which has nearly 60,000 students with more than 90 percent living off campus.
Florida Senator Marco Rubio confirmed suspension cables had been loosened and the engineering firm in charge of operations ordered they be tightened. The bridge collapsed while the cables were being tightened, he said on Twitter.
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said a “stress test” had been conducted earlier Thursday, according to The Associated Press.
Governor Rick Scott pledged to hold accountable anyone responsible for possible wrongdoing.
“We’re going to all want to do our best to find out exactly what happened here, and we will do that in a transparent manner,” he said. – AA

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