Families waited for news about their loved ones on Thursday evening following the collapse of a pedestrian bridge under construction in front of Florida International University.
By 7 p.m., at least four families had come to a family reunification center set up by FIU, the Red Cross and local authorities at the university’s Student Academic Success Center.
Red Cross spokeswoman Grace Meinhofer-Rodriguez said families who have been unable to locate their loved ones since the accident are encouraged to visit the reunification center.
“We do want everyone to come here,” she said. “We will have the most up-to-date information.”
But for anxious family members, it could be a long night. Meinhofer-Rodriguez said it might be hours before information about the victims is released. Following the school shootings in the afternoon of Feb. 14 at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, families at a reunification center there did not find out the fate of their loved ones until at least 1 a.m., she said.
Information will be released to families at the FIU reunification center, located next to FIU’s Graham Center near the Gold Parking Garage, as it becomes available from law enforcement officials.
The center is also providing spiritual, medical and mental health counseling for those impacted by the bridge collapse. Family and friends who cannot make it to the center are encouraged to call 305-348-3451 for more information.
The pedestrian bridge was intended to give FIU students a safe way to cross Tamiami Trail and was part of a project to link FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus to the city of Sweetwater, where several thousand students live. The walkway, which had not yet opened to student traffic, collapsed on top of at least eight cars stopped underneath at a red light on Thursday afternoon.
The injured were transported to the trauma center at Kendall Regional Medical Center. A spokesperson said the hospital had received 10 trauma patients ranging in age from 20 to 50 years old. Two were seriously injured and eight were in stable condition with injuries ranging from bruises to broken bones.
Miami Herald staff writer Carli Teproff contributed to this report