Miami-Dade County

Alexa Duran, FIU student who died in bridge collapse, remembered as ‘always funny, always laughing’

Funeral for FIU student who died in pedestrian bridge collapse

The funeral for 18-year-old Alexa Duran, the FIU student who died in the bridge collapse, was held at St. Mark Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches on Thursday March, 22, 2018.
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The funeral for 18-year-old Alexa Duran, the FIU student who died in the bridge collapse, was held at St. Mark Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches on Thursday March, 22, 2018.

Just after noon, the three bells at Saint Mark Catholic Church tolled for Alexa Duran.

The 18-year-old was one of the six victims of the Florida International University pedestrian bridge collapse last week. On Thursday, a week since the catastrophic accident, her friends and family buried their loved one after a funeral at Saint Mark, the church attached to her high school, Archbishop Edward A. McCarthy, in Southwest Ranches in Broward.

Her friend, Robert Julia, said Duran was a cheerleader and dancer during high school. He remembered her as “always funny, always laughing” and “the life of the party.” It was her first year at FIU, where she was studying political science and in the newest pledge class for the Alpha Xi Delta sorority.

FUNERAL0323 FAMILY CTJ
Alexa Duran’s mother Gina (with the dark glasses), follows the coffin of her daughter, Alexa, the 18-year-old FIU student who died in the bridge collapse on Southwest Eighth Street last Thursday. Her funeral was held at Saint Mark Catholic Church in Southwest Ranches, Thursday, March 22, 2018. She was one of six people killed in the collapse. CHARLES TRAINOR JR ctrainor@miamiherald.com

During the nearly two-hour ceremony, Julia was “astonished” when he watched a video clip of Duran singing at a karaoke night from a cruise she and her best friends took to celebrate their high school graduation. Few people knew that she had a lovely singing voice, a talent she hid from all but her closest friends.

Those friends honored Duran by singing “Stay” by Rihanna during a vigil held on the FIU campus on Wednesday.

The $14.2-million pedestrian bridge, a joint project between FIU and the city of Sweetwater to ferry students across heavily traveled Southwest Eighth Street, collapsed last Thursday while it was under construction at Eighth Street and 109th Avenue.

Julia, 19, had seen Duran just two weeks before she died. He was walking through the FIU campus, where he also attends, with his headphones when he heard Duran screaming his name. He popped one earbud out and waved as she gave him her usual megawatt smile.

“I had no idea it would be the last time I’d see her, except in her casket today,” he said.

Aerial footage shows the aftermath of the FIU pedestrian bridge collapsing on Southwest Eighth Street in Miami on March 15, 2018.

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