Following an around-the-clock rescue effort at the site of a collapsed footbridge in Miami, Florida, authorities said late Saturday that the final victim had been recovered from the debris ― more than two days after the sudden collapse of the 950-ton structure.
Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade Police Department, said at a press conference that the remains of five people had been pulled from the rubble on Saturday. A sixth victim had died at a hospital.
Perez said rescuers would be scouring the wreckage again to ensure that no other victims are buried, but added that he was “confident that no one’s left.”
Video captured Saturday at the site of the collapsed bridge, located near the campus of Florida International University, showed rescue workers removing slabs of concrete and other materials to reach the vehicles and victims trapped below.
At least eight cars were partially or completely crushed by the bridge when it suddenly crumpled on Thursday. Footage captured by a Miami Herald reporter showed “unrecognizable” vehicles being pulled from the rubble.
“They didn’t stop,” Perez said of rescue crews, who have worked tirelessly since the bridge collapsed. “The only pause from the rescuers was when we asked them to pause so that we could pray over every victim.”
Police have identified four victims: Oswald Gonzalez, 57; Alberto Arias, 53; Rolando Fraga Hernandez; and Navarro Brown, who had been working on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
Alexa Duran, an 18-year-old FIU student, was identified by her family as one of the victims.
Investigations are underway into the cause of the bridge collapse.
In the days before the accident, a crack in the structure had been noticed and reported to state officials by a lead engineer for FIGG Bridge Group, the company that designed the walkway. The engineer said at the time, however, that safety was not a concern.
In the hours before the bridge collapse, members of the bridge design team, including employees from FIU, FIGG and the Munilla Construction Company, held a meeting to discuss the crack — but concluded there were no safety hazards.