The Latest: Caller reported cracks in bridge before collapse

MIAMI (AP) — The Latest on the deadly collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University (all times local):

9:10 p.m.

Florida’s Department of Transportation says an engineer left a voicemail two days before a catastrophic bridge failure to say some cracking had been found at one of the concrete span.

However, the agency says the voicemail left on a landline wasn’t heard by a state DOT employee until Friday because the employee was out of the office on an assignment.

In a transcript of the voicemail released Friday night, Denney Pate with FIGG Bridge Group says the cracking would need repairs “but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective.

The pedestrian bridge at Florida International university collapsed Thursday, killing at least six people. Authorities are slowly removing the debris, looking for more victims.


6 p.m.

A construction firm involved in this week’s fatal bridge collapse in Florida was accused previously by a subcontractor of failing to properly design a bridge construction system after an accident in Virginia.

The allegations were made in a lawsuit that was later settled. A confidentiality agreement bars the release of details.

The lawsuit stemmed from FIGG Bridge Group’s building of the Southern Norfolk Jordan Bridge in 2012. During construction in Chesapeake, a 90-ton segment fell onto railroad tracks below.

The railroad sued. FIGG and a subcontractor, Lane Construction Corporation, argued over responsibility.

Lane claimed FIGG failed to properly design the bridge’s construction system. FIGG claimed Lane was in charge of installing the segment.


11:20 a.m.

The company that designed a pedestrian bridge that collapsed in Florida is the same company that designed the new Interstate 35W bridge in Minnesota, after the old span collapsed more than 10 years ago.

The engineering company is FIGG Bridge Group. Its new pedestrian bridge in Miami was hailed as a technological innovation before it collapsed Thursday, killing at least six people.

FIGG said in a statement that it’s stunned by the collapse. The cause is under investigation, but authorities said Friday that cables were being tightened when it collapsed.

In 2007, the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed in Minneapolis, killing 13 people and injuring 145. After that tragedy, FIGG was selected to design the replacement bridge that’s currently in use.


10:30 a.m.

Authorities say there could be more fatalities beyond the six deaths already confirmed in the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University in Miami.

Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez told reporters Friday he expects additional victims to be found as the massive concrete structure is removed. Perez also said the main priority is getting to the victims in crushed vehicles under the rubble as quickly as possible.

Authorities also said one victim is confirmed to be an FIU student. No identities of those killed have been released.

The National Transportation Safety Board is at the site to investigate what caused the bridge to collapse Thursday afternoon.


8:45 a.m.

Authorities say an innovative pedestrian bridge that failed at Florida International University had been put to a “stress test” and its cables were being tightened when it collapsed. Six people were killed and 10 injured when the 950-ton span pancaked onto a six-lane road.

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the cause.

One factor may have been the stress test that Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said crews conducted earlier Thursday.

Sen. Marco Rubio, meanwhile, tweeted that cables that suspend the bridge had loosened, and “were being tightened when it collapsed.”


5:50 a.m.

Miami-Dade Police say the death toll is up to six people in the collapse of a pedestrian bridge to Florida International University. Det. Alvaro Alvaro Zabaleta says the operation has turned from rescue to recovery.

He says they can’t yet release any information about the victims. He says 10 people were initially hospitalized.

The bridge was not opened yet when it collapsed on vehicles waiting in traffic.


2 a.m.

As Florida authorities work to identify the people who died in Thursday’s catastrophic bridge collapse, state and federal investigators will begin the task of figuring out how and why the five-day-old span failed.

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 pedestrian bridge was supposed to open in 2019 as a safe way for students to cross the busy road. It linked the community of Sweetwater with the campus of Florida International University.

Aerial footage at the site showed a trained dog running atop fallen concrete and sniffing in the crevices for any victims. Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez acknowledged the likelihood of finding more victims under the rubble is slim.

Four people were found dead and at least nine others were injured and taken to local hospitals; officials at one point said 10 were injured.

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