, , , , ,

A horrible tragedy. At least six now are dead with many more injured. The police expect additional fatalities are possible.

Recovery workers expect to find more bodies as debris is removed, Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said Friday. Of the six people who died, five bodies still were under the bridge wreckage Friday morning, Zabaleta said.

At least nine people were taken to hospitals, authorities said, after the bridge failure that one witness said “sounded like the world was ending.”

The structure’s 950-ton main span had just been installed Saturday using an accelerated construction process meant in part to reduce the time that street traffic was halted. The bridge had been designed to withstand a Category 5 hurricane.

The bridge was scheduled to open to foot traffic and cyclists in 2019, and was designed boost safety on busy 8th Street, where an 18-year-old FIU student was fatally struck by a vehicle in August.

“It is exactly the opposite of what we had intended, and we want to express our deepest condolences to the family and loved ones of those who have been affected,” Rosenberg, the university’s president, said in a video.

“The bridge was about collaboration, about neighborliness, about doing the right thing,” he said. “But today, we’re sad. And all we can do is promise a very thorough investigation, to getting to the bottom of this and mourn those who we have lost.”

A few thoughts:

My guess is the thing was way too heavy. 950 tons!? That’s about 5 tons per foot. If it wasn’t that, then I suspect it was something with the new, speedy construction methods. Could be both. The investigation will reveal the cause sooner or later.

Much was made of the architect who designed the structure. It was, putting it one way, not your father’s engineering. Another guess of mine is that there was too much emphasis on aesthetics – which, combined with incredible (likely unnecessary) mass, just didn’t hold up to mean old Mr. Gravity. Too heavy.

And “too heavy” may explain the desire to have such a super-sized structure in the first place. Pedestrian bridges are good, great even. And it sounds like one is really needed at that location. Yet, this may be another example of government overkill.

It’s kind of like the school shootings. An extremely small number of kids are killed in schools each year by bullets. More are killed by bees, swimming pools, and electricity arching between the Earth and the sky. But those aren’t easily projected upon law-abiding citizens and the NRA.

The “solutions” to the few gun deaths are always more of the same dictatorial, anti-freedom measures that help feed the shootings in the first place. More prison-like schools. More laws. More cops (to hide under stairwells). More spying. More snitching. More fear. More panic. More hysteria. More gun control. Less freedom. It was something about trading essential liberty for temporary security… And it’s always overreaction.

So it my be with this bridge. One person killed crossing a street is one too many. I had a beautiful young friend who was hit and killed by a bus while crossing the street in Athens, many years ago now. Again, the bridges may be a reasonable response. But the physical objects themselves should also be reasonable. Might a simple, yet sturdy, steel tube bridge have sufficed? Could not all of this been accomplished without the pomp, grandstanding, SJWism, and risky construction practices? Still getting my mind around something the size of a small ship hanging overhead.

The investigation will proceed. We’ll know one day.

There will be lawsuits. Maybe criminal prosecutions. And, at least with the civil suits, there will discovery problems. Big ones.

Companies involved in the bridge’s construction are scurrying to delete tweets and other marks of all the former pomp and celebration.

After the collapse of Florida International University’s newly-completed pedestrian bridge killed several and injured others on Thursday, two construction companies involved immediately deleted tweets celebrating the “spectacular” structure.

Reporters captured screenshots of the posts before they came down, showing a congratulatory shoutout from BDI Test to Barnhart Crane, a group with whom it said it worked on the project. Wednesday night, less than 24 hours before disaster struck, Barnhart tweeted a PR Newswire story showcasing the bridge’s supports.

What else is being deleted? And who is pressing the delete key?

This isn’t just a bad PR move. It’s also known as destruction of evidence. Any party who knows, or should know, that legal action is in process or is likely to commence, is duty bound to preserve any and all evidence. This includes digital or electronic information – to include social media posts. This is black letter law, under the civil practice act and the rules of civil procedure. It’s in the federal system and the Florida code. Some lawyer is probably having a fit right now.

Proof of willful destruction, deletion, of such information has ramifications, some of them drastic. Such actions can shift presumptions and even force admissions of fact. That can force settlements, as will likely be the case here.

Anyway, it’s just a terrible event. No “blame the National Bridge Association” or “only the police or military need high-capacity bridges” comments today. Worn, eh?

As a final aside, I’ve always hated walking or driving under large overhead structures. Maybe my fear hasn’t been so misplaced.