herald

Thursday 21 June 2018

Crack in fatal collapse bridge 'not a concern'

The collapsed bridge in Florida killed six people
The collapsed bridge in Florida killed six people

Engineers and state and university officials met hours before a new pedestrian bridge collapsed in southern Florida killing six people, but concluded a crack in the structure was not a safety concern, Florida International University said.

The meeting on Thursday involved Figg, which is the private contractor for the overall bridge design, the school, Florida Department of Transportation officials and Munilla Construction Management, which installed the $14.2m (€11.5m) structure.

Integrity

A Figg engineer "concluded there were no safety concerns and the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge," the university said in a statement.

About three hours after the meeting ended, the 950-ton bridge collapsed, crushing vehicles stopped at a traffic light on the eight-lane roadway below.

Six people died, including five whose bodies were recovered on Saturday as workers pulled out vehicles from the rubble.

Police had feared the death toll could rise above six. But authorities recovered what they believe to be the last body on Saturday, Miami-Dade Police Department director Juan Perez told a news conference.

"We're going to go once again and make sure that there's nobody else down there, but we're pretty confident that no one's left," he said.

Four of the victims found on Saturday were identified by police as Rolando Fraga Hernandez, Oswald Gonzalez, Alberto Arias and Alexa Duran.

The name of another person whose body was removed from the rubble was not immediately available. Another victim, who died in a hospital after the collapse, was identified by police as Navarro Brown.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the reasons for the bridge's collapse.

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