ARLINGTON (CBSMiami) – The National Transportation Safety Board is in the very early stages of an investigation into the deadly bridge collapse on the campus of Florida International University.
The NTSB is an independent federal agency charged by Congress to investigate transportation accidents, to determine probable cause and to issue safety recommendations to prevent those accidents from occurring again.
NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt addressed the media outside the agency’s headquarters in Arlington, Virginia.
He spoke about the response team that is heading to South Florida and what they plan to do.
“In addition to our headquarters support staff we are launching a multi-disciplinary investigative team of 15 specialists in a number of areas, including civil engineering, material science and survival factors,” said Sumwalt.
Along with the specialists, NTSB is also sending people to help the family members of the accident’s victims.
“We are sending our specialists from the NTSB office of transportation disaster assistance and they will be on hand to assist the families of those who have been affected by this tragedy,” Sumwalt said.
NTSB specialists are expected to arrive in South Florida at approximately 10:30 p.m. and will immediately head to the accident scene.
They’ll then meet with first responders and plan to begin a full investigation first thing in the morning.
Sumwalt was asked questions that he was unable to answer, such as information about the amount of victims or of bridges like this have had issues in the past. He was not able to answer them yet as the NTSB is still in the process of gathering facts.
“In the course of the investigation we certainly intend to find out those things and if we find that there are deficiencies with this type of bridge, or the construction of this type of bridge, we do have the capability to issue urgent interim recommendations so we will be looking and if we uncover anything immediately, we’re prepared to issue urgent recommendations,” he said.
When asked if there has been any kind of issue with this specific kind of bride in the past, Sumwalt said “to my knowledge the answer to that is no.”