911 calls: Police fast on scene of Florida bridge collapse

FILE- This March 15, 2018 file photo shows the main span of the a pedestrian bridge after it collapsed over several cars causing fatalities and injuries. Documents obtained by The Associated Press through a public records request show that the Florida Department of Transportation in October 2016 ordered Florida International University and its contractors to move the bridge's main, signature pylon 11 feet north to the edge of a canal, widening the distance the crossing would gap between its supports and requiring a new base structural design. . (DroneBase via AP)
Florida International University President Mark B. Rosenberg, right, students and faculty staff lead a procession on Wednesday, March 21, 2018, as part of a vigil hosted by the FIU student Government Association in Miami. The vigil was for the six people killed when a new pedestrian bridge collapse last Thursday. (Pedro Portal/Miami Herald via AP)

MIAMI — Police and rescue workers arrived at the scene of a pedestrian bridge collapse near a Florida university campus even before witnesses could finish making 911 calls for help, according to audio files released Thursday.

Miami-Dade Police released 15 calls made to 911 dispatchers in the moments after the collapse on March 15.

Sirens could be heard blaring behind several frantic callers moments after the 950-ton (860-metric ton) structure fell into traffic.

"Oh, my gosh. A lot of cars are under the bridge," one woman told a 911 dispatcher.

She started crying and added, "Hurry up, please," before realizing police had arrived at the scene.

Another woman said in a shaken voice that she was driving to work when the bridge fell in front of her.

"There are dead people," she said in Spanish to the dispatcher.

A male caller told a dispatcher the bridge had collapsed across the whole eight-lane roadway.

"They just put it up, they were working on it, and it collapsed into the middle of the road. We've got a big, big deal here," he said.

"It's a big, big, mess," he said, adding the police were already at the scene.

The dispatcher asked if anyone was injured.

"From what I see, it must have hurt somebody," he said.

The bridge was intended to span a busy roadway between Florida International University and the neighboring city of Sweetwater. The collapse killed six people.

The family of one of the victims filed a wrongful death lawsuit Thursday in state court. The lawsuit filed on behalf of the son and wife of victim Rolando Fraga seeks unspecified damages from Munilla Construction Management and FIGG Bridge Engineers, the two main entities involved in the bridge construction.

The lawsuit claims the two companies were negligent because they had warning that a public safety hazard existed and the flow of traffic beneath the bridge should have been shut down while work was being performed.

Several other lawsuits also have been filed since the collapse.

___

Associated Press writers Jason Dearen in Gainesville, Florida, and Curt Anderson in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, contributed to this report.

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