Witnesses: horrific scene around FIU bridge collapse, leaving 6 dead
UPDATE: 6 are confirmed dead.
“I saw the smoke and I thought to myself, why are they taking the bridge down? I don’t understand what they are doing. I was in a state of shock or disbelief. I couldn’t believe what I just saw.”
This was just one account of the horrific scene that unfolded near Florida International University Thursday afternoon. Six people are confirmed dead after a raised pedestrian bridge collapsed onto cars stopped at a red light underneath.
Sergeant Jenna Mendez was at the red light one intersection away from the bridge when she saw it suddenly collapse and crush eight cars underneath it. She says her instincts kicked in.
“I pulled up and jumped out of my vehicle, and I climbed up to the top of the bridge,” she said. “I started yelling into the crowd for someone to please find me a doctor and first responders because I need help.”
Mendez says she climbed through piles of concrete to rescue anyone trapped underneath.
“A lot of severely injured people who you know are not okay and they need your assistance and rescue to the hospital as quickly as possible,” she said.
One street over, Eddie Abboud says he drives on that road every day. But today, a feeling he had in his gut told him not to.
“I was going to take that road to see my granddaughter, but I decided to take Coral Way,” he said. “I felt like something like this would happen.”
Although Abboud says he’s lucky to be alive, Seargent Mendez says other were not.
“It hit me a little while later,” she said. “I’m a mother. I’m a mother of five, so we did look in one of the vehicles and we did see a car seat, but thank god there wasn’t a child in there. But the driver of the vehicle did not make it.”
Officials say there are four confirmed deaths, but that total could rise depending on if any more people are trapped inside their cars in the wreckage. Officials plan to comb through the debris through the night.
Watch a press conference from state and local officials below.