FIU student among dead in Florida bridge collapse confirmed Sweetwater Mayor

3 bridge-collapse victims found dead in cars recovered from scene in Florida, confirming death toll of at least 6

3 bridge-collapse victims found dead in cars recovered from scene in Florida, confirming death toll of at least 6

The chief engineer of a Florida bridge project warned authorities of cracking in the structure days before it collapsed, killing at least six people, the U.S. state's department of transportation said Friday.

FDOT blamed the collapse on the design team, which FIU hailed as a "first-of-its-kind" pedestrian bridge ahead of its collapse.

Lawyer Tesha Allison, representing TSA worker Jose Perez, told the New Times that a "makeshift bridge" through an area of the airport where employees had to walk through to reach restrooms "broke under [his] weight", causing "multiple broken bones and damage to his spine".

She called the collapse an "unprecedented event" and wrote that "no other bridge designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers has ever experienced such a collapse".

The 950-ton bridge at Florida International University was installed exactly a week ago, although construction had not yet been completed.

An FDOT consultant also attended a midday meeting on Thursday "shortly before" the bridge's 1:30 p.m. collapse, but he was "not notified of any life-safety issues, need for additional road closures or request for any other assistance from FDOT", the agency said.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the bridge would have provided safe passage over a canal and six lanes of traffic and created a showpiece architectural feature connecting the campus of FIU with the community of Sweetwater, where many students live.

"I looked up and in an instant the bridge was collapsing on us completely", the student said in a phone interview with Associated Press.

Workers covered the extracted vehicles with tarps and placed them onto flatbed trucks, which then took them away.

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The police department said Saturday evening on Twitter that it would be taken to the Miami-Dade County Medical Examiner's Department.

MCM is owned by five brothers from the Munilla family, several of them former students at FIU.

"We just want to get those bodies out of there so [families] can have their loved ones one last time", he said.

Professor Amjad Aref, a researcher at the University at Buffalo's department of civil, structural and environmental engineering, said it is unclear what the builders at FIU were using in lieu of a tower to support the segment that collapsed.

"You can't really compare them", said the spokeswoman, Daisy Gonzalez-Diego, adding that all contractors are evaluated on an ongoing basis by district staff. 'That's a question for them to answer'. The method is aimed at reducing risks to workers, commuters and pedestrians and preventing traffic issues. It cost $14.2 million to build and was funded through a $19.4 million grant from the US Department of Transportation.

The violations were related to a June 2012 incident in which a 52 foot-long, 10-foot-wide portion of a bridge in Chesapeake, Virginia, that FIGG was working on collapsed onto a railroad, according to a lawsuit the Norfolk and Portsmouth Belt Line Railroad Company filed against FIGG.

The bridge was designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers and built by MCM Construction.

"Both companies expressed condolences for the victims and promised cooperation with investigators".

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