Third car removed from FIU bridge collapse rubble
First responders pulled a fourth car from the rubble of the Florida International University bridge collapse Saturday evening, leaving two more to go.
The goal is to remove remaining cars and bodies from the debris pile by the end of Saturday, Miami-Dade Police Director Juan Perez told reporters Saturday morning. First responders give each car a moment of silence before sending them to the medical examiner’s office so staffers can identify the bodies within.
Eight cars were initially trapped under the 950-ton bridge when it crumbled Thursday afternoon.
First responders quickly freed two cars that were only partially trapped, but the remaining six cars took special equipment and techniques to remove. Two were removed early Saturday. They contained the bodies of Rolando Fraga, 60, Osvaldo Gonzalez, 57, and Alberto Arias, 54.
The third was extracted around 6 p.m., with the fourth following just before 8 p.m.
Police said there were six known victims and released the names of four of them Saturday afternoon.
Two cars were still visible from the east late Saturday, a burgundy colored sedan and a black SUV that almost made it past the bridge before it fell. The rear halves have been crushed by the fallen concrete.
Beeps and bangs from heavy construction equipment rang out as uniformed officers, construction workers in hard hats and investigators in suits conferred in huddles.
Next to them, a black inflatable strap stuck out from under the rubble. Crews have used this tool as they extract cars that contain the dead from the wreckage.
From a nearby seven-story parking garage, civil engineering senior Kaye Guardiario, 22, gazed down at the rubble. She and her father, a civil engineer, have discussed what might have caused the collapse.
As an engineering student, she wondered if a calculation was off or one structural issue went unnoticed. But she’s also still shocked to see a structure she would have walked across multiple times every day turn into a mass of crumbled concrete and contorted steel.
As machines below clanged and rumbled in the debris below, she reflected on how a bridge meant to unify and connect is now on the ground, a symbol of tragedy.
“This bridge would’ve been such a good thing for us,” she said. “But it has done so much more destruction than good.”