MIAMI (CBSMiami) – At least one person is dead after a new pedestrian bridge built for Florida International University students suddenly collapsed on Thursday.
Officials expect the death toll to rise as several cars were crushed underneath the wreckage.
The 950-ton bridge was located at the intersection of Southwest 8th Street and 109th Avenue.
FIU sophomore Aura Martinez was at a restaurant across the street from the bridge, having lunch with her mother.
Their server said the bridge collapsed and Martinez described what she did next to CBS Miami’s Peter D’Oench.
“We turn around and I see the bridge literally down,” she said. “It was such a scary feeling because I saw that and I didn’t know what to do.”
Martinez and her mother ran outside and looked for a way to help.
“We ran out there and we tried to help people that we saw,” she said. “There was this one girl, it was literally a miracle of god because her car got squished by the bridge but just the back [of her car]. So she was able to get out and she was on the floor and we were trying to help her. It was just something that was…it was very traumatizing.”
As many FIU students have been made aware, the brand new bridge was there to make their lives easier.
A ceremony was held last Saturday as a 174-foot section of the bridge was lifted from its supports and swung across Southwest 8th Street before being lowered into its final planned position.
“FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully,” FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said on Saturday.
The bridge was intended to provide a safer pedestrian route to connect the campus community to its neighbors.
“I was shocked because this thing they built, it had so much potential and everything but it just literally killed people,” Martinez said.
It provides the young adult a sobering reminder of how fragile life is.
“I had gone under the bridge in our car a couple days ago coming here and we’re like ‘oh wow the bridge it up, this is so exciting, we won’t have to cross through the street anymore’ because it is dangerous. A girl back in August died because she got hit by a car, so we were excited about [the bridge]. But also being under that bridge we were also like ‘oh my god this is so scary because it weighs so much’ but we had trust that the people who built it, that there was no fault or anything,” she said.