MIAMI (Reuters) – Florida International University (FIU) students return to classes on Monday from spring break with a moment of silence planned campus-wide for the six victims of a newly installed pedestrian bridge at the school that collapsed last week.
Since last week, federal investigators have been looking over the wreckage of the 950-ton bridge that crushed vehicles stopped at a traffic light on the eight-lane road below when it fell on Thursday in a rain of metal, concrete and debris.
All six victim have been identified, with the final one being named on Sunday. Those killed were Rolando Fraga, 60, Oswald Gonzalez, 57, Alberto Arias, 53, Alexa Duran, 18, Navaro Brown, 37, and Brandon Brownfield, whose age has not been released.
The moment of silence will be a 1:47 p.m., when the bridge collapsed, the school said, adding it has designated spots for those who want to leave flowers and other tokens of remembrance for those killed.
“Our hearts break for the victims of the bridge collapse. Lives have been lost. Futures and families shattered,” FIU President Mark Rosenberg said in a statement over the weekend.
Engineers and state and university officials met hours before the pedestrian bridge collapsed, but concluded a crack in the structure was not a safety concern, Florida International University said on Saturday.
The meeting on Thursday involved FIGG, which is the private contractor for the overall bridge design, the school, Florida Department of Transportation officials and Munilla Construction Management, which installed the $14.2 million bridge.
A FIGG engineer “concluded there were no safety concerns and the crack did not compromise the structural integrity of the bridge,” the university said in a statement.
About three hours after the meeting ended, the bridge collapsed.
The bridge over one of the busiest road in South Florida was designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane, the most dangerous measure by the National Hurricane Center, and built to last 100 years, the university said.
(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Robert Birsel)