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Bridge Collapse Kills At Least 4 In Florida

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Authorities in Florida say six people died and several others were hospitalized after a bridge under construction collapsed Thursday afternoon. The bridge was adjacent to the Florida International University in Miami. Emergency workers are now searching for more possible victims. Here's NPR's Richard Gonzales.

RICHARD GONZALES, BYLINE: The bridge was designed to allow pedestrians to safely cross a multi-lane highway separating the campus and the city of Sweetwater. It has been in the works since 2010 and built off-location. Just last Saturday, the 950-ton bridge had been set in place and was cause for celebration, said Florida International University President Mark Rosenberg.

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MARK ROSENBERG: This bridge was about goodness, not sadness. Now we're feeling immense sadness, uncontrollable sadness.

GONZALES: The bridge collapsed, crushing at least eight vehicles. Into Thursday night, search-and-rescue teams were drilling holes into the debris. Heavy equipment was brought in as well as high-tech listening devices and dogs to try to find other victims.

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RICK SCOTT: I know everybody is working hard to make sure that we continue to rescue anyone that can be rescued.

GONZALES: Florida Governor Rick Scott.

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SCOTT: There will be - clearly be an investigation to find out exactly what happened and why this happened. And we will hold anybody accountable if anything - if anybody has done anything wrong.

GONZALES: The governor said that construction of the bridge was not a state project but was overseen by the university. The Florida Department of Transportation issued a fact sheet saying that the university was responsible for safely installing and testing the bridge. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board is on site with plans to begin its investigation this morning. After the local, state and federal investigators finish their work, another inquiry will begin. Miami Dade Police Director Juan Perez said his department will then launch a homicide investigation. Richard Gonzales, NPR News. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.