Published: Sun, March 18, 2018
Global | By Craig Ferguson

Jamaican-born construction worker a casualty of Miami bridge collapse

Jamaican-born construction worker a casualty of Miami bridge collapse

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.

But the employee was out of the office and it was not heard until Friday, a day after the collapse.

In Tuesday's voice mail, Pate said the cracking on the north end of the span should be repaired.

The engineer, Denney Pate of FIGG Bridge Engineers Inc., said in the message that he did not regard the cracking as a safety issue.

Scheduled to open in 2019, the bridge would have provided safe passage over a canal as well as six lanes of traffic, and created a showpiece architectural feature connecting the campus of FIU with the community of Sweetwater, where many students live.

Police have said more bodies may be recovered from under the rubble after the 950-ton, $14.2 million bridge plummeted onto traffic on one of the busiest thoroughfares in South Florida on Thursday, crushing vehicles trapped underneath.

One of the things crews hope to do is raise the bridge off vehicles using a large inflatable airbag, a source close to the bridge collapse investigation told CNN.

Sen. Bill Nelson of Florida is asking the US Department of Transportation for documents related to the "engineering, design, construction, safety and inspection".

Police had said the work to remove crushed vehicles from the scene would be long and tedious - in part because the large debris that smashed them needed to be broken down into small chunks and taken away.

Munilla has been fined $50,000 for 11 safety violations in the past five years and a worker won a $143,000 judgment when a makeshift bridge collapsed under him, according to the Associated Press.

According to MDPD Director Juan Perez, three bodies discovered within those two vehicles.

The bridge was under construction when it collapsed onto a major highway, killing at least six people.

An FDOT consultant also attended a midday meeting on Thursday "shortly before" the bridge's 1:30 p.m. collapse, but he was "not notified of any life-safety issues, need for additional road closures or request for any other assistance from FDOT", the agency said. He added that there may be more bodies in the two remaining vehicles that they had not anticipated.

"At no point during any of the communications above did FIGG or any member of the FIU design build team ever communicate a life-safety issue", FDOT said in an email Friday. Authorities are investigating to determine a cause.

But in ABC projects like the FIU span, the loss of the extra support from the main tower during construction is a risk, he said.

The National Transportation Safety Board will lead the federal inquiry, and a team of investigators arrived Thursday night.

The two vehicles were seen covered by tarps, being transported with a police escort.

In regard to the incident at Fort Lauderdale Hollywood International Airport that is being reported on, we want to make it clear that there is no bridge, or temporary bridge, at this project.

"These are people who can't find their loved ones who think that they might be there", said Grace Meinhofer, of the American Red Cross.

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