Miami-Dade Police say that the death toll is up to six people in the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University. Det. Alvaro Zabaleta says the operation has turned from rescue to recovery.
He says police can't release any information about the victims. Ten people were initially hospitalized, he told the Associated Press.
Miami-Dade County Fire Chief Dave Downey said Thursday night that his crew is using high-tech listening devices, trained sniffing dogs and search cameras in a race to find anyone still alive in the rubble.
The $14.2 million bridge was not opened yet when it collapsed on vehicles waiting in traffic. It was supposed to open in 2019 as a safe way for students to cross the busy road.
According to the Miami Herald, a porting of the bridge collapsed on Thursday and trapped multiple cars and pedestrians underneath.
State and federal investigators will begin the task of figuring out how and why the five-day-old span failed while authorities work to identify the victims.
The 950-ton bridge, touted as the "first of its kind," was used via Accelerated Bridge construction technology, according to a statement from FIU officials.
The process helped speed up the building process and saved the Florida Department of Transportation money. According to the Federal High Administration, the process can have workers finished with a bridge within 72 hours of beginning a project.
The company that built the bridge, FIGG Engineering, released a statement offering condolences.
"We are stunned by today's tragic collapse of a pedestrian bridge that was under construction over Southwest Eighth Street in Miami. Our deepest sympathies are with all those affected by this accident. We will fully cooperate with every appropriate authority in reviewing what happened and why. In our 40-year history, nothing like this has ever happened before. Our entire team mourns the loss of life and injuries associated with this devastating tragedy, and our prayers go out to all involved," FIGG Engineering said in a statement.
A press release on FIU's website indicated that the bridge connected the university campus to the Sweetwater neighborhood, where more than 4,000 students live.
The bridge cost $14.2 million to make and was paid for by a $19.4 million grant by the US Department of Transportation. It was still reportedly under construction.
Just days before the deadly collapse, BDI, the company responsible for the "structural monitoring" of the bridge tweeted a photo of the walkway, captioning it, "We are thrilled to have performed structural monitoring during a spectacular bridge move by [Barnhart Crane] at [Florida International University, Miami]. Congratulations to [Barnhart Crane] on a job well done, we always appreciate being part of the team!"
The company deleted the tweet following news of the collapse.