Deadly Bridge Collapse at Florida International University Kills Six and Injures 10
The sad story of the bridge collapse at Florida International University (FIU)—and the individuals who were killed and injured—has been all over the news of late, particularly as officials with the National Transportation Safety Board open up an investigation into what exactly happened that caused so much devastation on Thursday, March 15th.
Those who perished in the collapse include Alberto Arias, Navarro Brown, Brandon Brownfield, Alexa Duran, Oswald Gonzalez, and Ronaldo Fraga Hernandez. In addition to the six individuals who were killed as a result of the accident, at least an additional 10 have been reported as injured.
Were University Officials On Notice That Something Was Wrong?
According to sources, just hours before the bridge collapsed onto traffic waiting at a stoplight below, FIU officials actually met with the state Department of Transportation and engineers to decide whether detected cracks on the structure could be a safety risk. Specifically, although one of the engineers had notified everyone involved of the crack days before, he had also indicated that he did not think it was a safety issue.
Questions Remain: Why Wasn’t Traffic Kept Away From Bridge During Testing?
It is also noteworthy that crews were in the process of performing stress tests on the bridge immediately before the collapse in order to test the concrete’s resilience. However, questions still remain as to why officials involved did not choose to close the roadway beneath the bridge until every aspect of safety was thoroughly tested.
A number of parties have already tried to distance themselves from the deadly accident: Within hours of the bridge’s collapse, the Transportation Department issued fact sheets indicating that the agency’s involvement was limited to authorizing FIU to use the space above the state road and in providing traffic-control permits. At the same time, FIU has indicated that Florida transportation officials were, in fact, closely involved with the project for its entire duration.
Questions that also turned on the history of the construction firms involved—Figg and MCM—who reportedly have a history of safety issues at construction sites, as well as a history of employing “careless workers.” There is also confusion as to why the pedestrian bridge opened this early, as it was originally not supposed to open to transport students between campus and the city of Sweetwater until 2019 at the earliest.
Florida Bridge Collapse Litigation
Litigation has already been filed on behalf of a man who was allegedly seriously injured while riding his bike under the bridge when it collapsed. If you or a loved one suffered an injury or a wrongful death due to this accident or one like it, your first step is to meet with an experienced construction site injury attorney to discuss your options. Contact one of our Fort Lauderdale, Florida attorneys at Friedland & Associates today for a free consultation to discuss your rights.