Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn Like us on Facebook Follow us on Instagram Visit the TPC Store
Search the site



Safway Services

Coatings Industry News

Main News Page

Report: Worker Fled FIU Bridge Collapse

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Comment | More

As the investigation into the pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University continues, new information has come to light: A crane that was at the site at the time of the incident was driven away shortly after.

According to The Miami Herald, authorities did not start to wonder about the disappearance of the crane until some time after. Carl Robertson, a homeless man who lives near the site of the bridge, was the one to call in the information indicating that the crane's driver removed it from the site in the wake of the collapse.

Bridge Collapse

On March 14, the pedestrian bridge collapsed across eight lanes of the busy road below, flattening several vehicles.

The 950-ton, 174-foot-long span was assembled alongside the road while support columns were erected in place. On March 10, the span was lifted off the ground with a mechanical transporter, swung into position, then lowered onto the support columns. Sliding it into place took six hours, noted the Herald, and the process—known as Accelerated Bridge Construction—was touted by FIU as an innovative “instant” bridge technique.

National Transportation Safety Board, public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

As the investigation into the pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University continues, new information has come to light: a crane that was at the site at the time of the incident was driven away shortly after.

According to CNN, shortly after the span was installed, W. Denney Pate, an engineer with bridge firm FIGG, which was part of the design-construction team, noticed there was an issue—a crack had formed along the north side of the bridge, and repairs were needed.

Most recently, the Herald asked four engineers to examine accidentally released documentation related to the collapse. Many agreed that the cracks signified potentially critical structural issues. Truss No. 11 was specifically identified by outside engineers as being “under-designed.” Largely, the engineers noted that the cracks that appear in the photos taken by the university should have prompted a cessation of work and an in-depth review.

Runaway Crane

Current reports indicate that the police don’t believe the crane or its operator were responsible for the bridge collapse. Instead, it’s possible the individual drove the equipment a short distance away to vacate the area for emergency vehicles.

The crane itself had been used to lift a piece of equipment used to adjust the span's internal steel supports, around the time the bridge came crashing down.

According to Robertson, within minutes of the bridge collapse, the operator stepped out of the crane, untied a strand of police tape that responding officers had tied to the equipment, went back in the rig, started it up and drove away.

"The emergency vehicles needed access," said attorney Bryant Blevins. "They were getting there pretty quickly after the collapse. At that point, he had to move the crane."

The attorney went on to add that the operator took the crane about 30 blocks north to the George's Crane lot in Sweetwater, which is where it remained. The operator reportedly returned later that night to help, however.

Capt. Alex Acosta of the Miami-Dade Police Department told the Herald that investigators think that the operator drove a few hundred feet from the site. While the individual’s name was not released, it has been confirmed that they spoke with police willingly. No action was taken against them.


Tagged categories: Accelerated Bridge Construction (ABC); Bridges; Department of Transportation (DOT); Government; Infrastructure

Comment from Thomas Van Hooser, (5/16/2018, 8:05 AM)

Basic rule for accidents is to not disturb the scene.

Comment from William Feliciano, (5/16/2018, 9:40 AM)

The first thing I thought about when I saw this on television was, why aren't they using one of the cranes to help lift debris and search for survivors? I understand there are risks associated with doing that. Yet, what is the alternative? I was deeply upset at how authorities didn't want anyone to meddle because this was an "accident scene". Easy to say when it's not your loved ones trapped in there.

Comment Join the Conversation:

Sign in to our community to add your comments.

SABRE Autonomous Solutions
The system provides a finish even experienced blasters cannot match
You will be amazed at the accuracy, speed and control of the system.

SAFE Systems, Inc.
Enduroguard -
The Tough Cable
for a Tough Industry.
Reduce maintenance costs and down time, increase job site safety with Enduroguard Cable. Available exclusively from SAFE Systems. UL listed, flexible, abrasion resistant and cut resistant.

Novatek Corporation
Dustless Coatings Removal
Novatek Corporation, Dustless Coatings Removal Strip, clean and profile all dust free! Comply with new lead standards. Contact today: (866) 563-7800

Total Enclosure Sail System, Inc.
Environmental containment and weather protection system.
• The Sail System™ environmental containment and weather protection system is strong, durable, reusable, efficient and cost effective. Sail System™ provides class I containment for bridges, water towers, ground tanks, drydocks and more.

HoldTight Solutions Inc.
Clean surfaces simply don’t rust, and no other product cleans like HoldTight®102.
HoldTight®102 is a wet blasting additive that decreases the water’s surface tension, allowing it to get into the profile of the surface and remove ALL contamination, including salts, acids, abrasives, light oils, and greases. HoldTight®102 leaves behind no film and evaporates with the water, providing a surface that is thoroughly clean and ready for coating, rust-free for up to 72 hours.

Mitsubishi Gas Chemical America
Performance Amine 1,3-BAC
A highly reactive cycloaliphatic diamine offering superior performance. Reasonable cost and curing efficacy makes it suitable for all types of epoxy resin applications.

US Minerals
Hit Harder. Clean Faster.
Learn more at

Absolute Equipment/Grand Rental Station
We have Tier 4 Equipment including Air Compressors & Generators for Sale & Rent! Your job may now require Tier-4. or Call 412-931-6655.

CHLOR*RID International Inc.
Companies that invest in corrosion control use CHLOR RID products
  • Soluble salt removal liquid
  • Test kits to verify contamination levels
  • Surface passivation to hold the blast
INFO@CHLOR-RID.COM 800.422.3217

SSPC: The Society for Protective Coatings
Join SSPC and Enhance
Your Career !


Technology Publishing Co., 1501 Reedsdale Street, Suite 2008, Pittsburgh, PA 15233

TEL 1-412-431-8300  • FAX  1-412-431-5428  •  EMAIL

The Technology Publishing Network

Durability + Design PaintSquare the Journal of Protective Coatings & Linings Paint BidTracker

EXPLORE:      JPCL   |   PaintSquare News   |   Interact   |   Buying Guides   |   Webinars   |   Resources   |   Classifieds
REGISTER AND SUBSCRIBE:      Free PaintSquare Registration   |   Subscribe to JPCL   |   Subscribe to PaintSquare News
MORE:      About   |   Privacy Policy   |   Terms & Conditions   |   Support   |   Site Map   |   Search   |   Contact Us