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Bridge Collapsed in Miami

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A so-called “instant” bridge collapsed in Miami early this afternoon just days after its installation, reportedly trapping pedestrians underneath.

The bridge was installed by Florida International University to give students a safer crossing over, rather than across, the busy seven-lane Tamiami Trail.

The main span is 174 feet long. Pictures from the scene show most of the span collapsed and pancaked.

CNN is reporting that multiple people have been killed. Possibly a dozen dead.


FIU bridge collapse: Multiple fatalities reported – CNN

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/us/miami-bridge-collapse/index.html(CNN)Multiple people have died as a result of a pedestrian bridge collapse at Florida International University in Miami, according to a spokesman with the Florida Highway Patrol.

FIU installs new pedestrian bridge over the Trail in a few hours | Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/Miami-dade/west-Miami-dade/article204506084.htmlInstant bridge? Not quite, but in a single morning Florida International University dropped a new elevated pedestrian span into place over the Tamiami Trail to provide students a safe route over the perilous roadway for the first time.

Once it’s finished in early 2019, the new pedestrian bridge will link FIU’s Modesto A. Maidique Campus directly to the small suburban city of Sweetwater, where the university estimates 4,000 of its students live.

FIU pedestrian bridge collapses, people trapped underneath | Miami Herald

http://www.miamiherald.com/news/local/community/Miami-dade/West-Miami-dade/article205316174.htmlA pedestrian bridge under construction collapsed Thursday, just days after crews dropped an elevated 950-ton span in place in a project that was intended to give Florida International University students a safe route across the busy roadway.

The bridge crashed across six lanes of heavily traveled Tamiami Trail, crushing a still undetermined number of car and killing a still unclear number of people. Police on the scene said at least six people could be dead. The Florida Highway Patrol reported five or six cars were trapped under the bridge. Miami-Dade County police said at least eight cars had been crushed under the walkway, which was not yet open to student traffic.

 


NOQ Staff Contributors: Eric Dixon & Terresa Monroe-Hamilton

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News

Hundreds search rubble in California for human remains

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Hundreds search rubble in California for human remains

PARADISE, Calif. (AP) — The search for remains of victims of the devastating Northern California wildfire took on a new urgency Monday as rain in the forecast threatened to complicate those efforts while also bringing relief to firefighters.

Hundreds of crews and volunteers were searching the ash and rubble where homes stood before flames engulfed the Sierra foothills town of Paradise and surrounding communities, killing at least 77 people in the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century.

The fire has destroyed more than 10,500 homes while burning 234 square miles (606 sq. kilometers). It was 65 percent contained.

The rain expected to arrive Wednesday could cause wet ash to flow down steep inclines in the mountainous region, forecasters said.

Rescue workers wore white coveralls, hard hats and masks as they poked through debris, searching for bone fragments before rain could wash them away or turn loose, dry ash into thick paste.

A team of 10 volunteers accompanied by a cadaver dog went from house to house in the charred landscape. Some went to homes where they had received tips that someone might have died.

They used sticks to move aside debris and focused on vehicles, bathtubs and what was left of mattresses for possible signs of victims.

When no remains were found, they spray-painted a large, orange “0″ near the house and moved on.

Robert Panak, a volunteer on a team from Napa County, said he was trying to picture each house before it burned and imagine where people might have taken shelter.

“I just think about the positives, bringing relief to the families, closure,” Panak said.

The search area is huge and the fire burned many places to the ground, creating a landscape unique to many search-and- rescue personnel, said Joe Moses, a commander with the Monterey County Sheriff’s Office, who is helping oversee the effort.

“Here we’re looking for very small parts and pieces, and so we have to be very diligent and systematic,” he said Friday.

Sheriff Kory Honea said it was possible that the exact death toll from the blaze would never be known. He also questioned whether the search for remains could be completed by midweek when the rain is forecast.

“As much as I wish that we could get through all of this before the rains come, I don’t know if that’s possible,” he said.

About 1,000 names remain on a list of people unaccounted for more than a week after the fire began in Butte County about 140 miles (225 kilometers) north of San Francisco.

Authorities don’t believe all those on the list are missing and the number dropped by 300 on Sunday as more people were located or got in touch to say they weren’t missing.

On Sunday afternoon, more than 50 people gathered at a memorial for the victims at First Christian Church in Chico, where a banner on the altar read, “We will rise from the ashes.”

People hugged and shed tears as Pastor Jesse Kearns recited a prayer for firefighters, rescuers and search teams: “We ask for continued strength as they are growing weary right now,” Kearns said.

Paul Stavish, who retired three months ago from a Silicon Valley tech job and moved to Paradise, placed a battery-powered votive candle on the altar as a woman played piano and sang “Amazing Grace.”

Stavish, his wife and three dogs escaped the fire, but their house is gone. He said he was thinking of the dead and mourning for the warm, tight-knit community.

“This is not just a few houses getting burned,” he said. “The whole town is gone.”

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Associated Press journalists Christopher Weber and Brian Melley in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

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Fire deaths rise to 71 ahead of Trump’s California visit

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Fire deaths rise to 71 ahead of Trumps California visit

CHICO, Calif. (AP) — With the confirmed death toll at 71 and the list of unaccounted for people more than 1,000, authorities in Northern California on Friday searched for those who perished and those who survived the fiercest of wildfires ahead of a planned visit by President Donald Trump.

The president on Saturday is expected to get a look at the grief and damage caused by the deadliest U.S. wildfire in a century, and he could face resentment from locals for blaming the inferno on poor forest management in California.

In an interview taped Friday and scheduled for broadcast on “Fox News Sunday,” Trump said he was surprised to see images of firefighters removing dried brush near a fire, adding, “This should have been all raked out.”

Deputies found eight more bodies Friday, bringing the death toll to 71.

The number of people unaccounted for grew from 631 on Thursday night to more than 1,000 on Friday, but Sheriff Kory Honea said the list was dynamic and could easily contain duplicate names and unreliable spellings of names.

He said the roster probably includes some who fled the blaze and do not realize they’ve been reported missing.

“We are still receiving calls, we’re still reviewing emails,” Honea said Friday.

Some on the list have been confirmed as dead by family and friends on social media. Others have been located and are safe, but authorities haven’t gotten around to marking them as found.

Tamara Conry said she should never have been on the list.

“My husband and I are not missing and never were!” Conry wrote Thursday night on Facebook. “We have no family looking for us. … I called and left a message to take our names off.”

Authorities compiled the list by going back to listen to all the dispatch calls they received since the fire started, to make sure they didn’t miss anyone.

In last year’s catastrophic wildfires in California wine country, Sonoma County authorities at one point listed more than 2,000 people as missing. But they slowly whittled down the number. In the end, 44 people died in several counties.

The wildfire this time all but razed the town of Paradise, population 27,000, and heavily damaged the outlying communities of Magalia and Concow on Nov. 8, destroying 9,700 houses and 144 apartment buildings, authorities said.

Firefighters were gaining ground against the blaze, which blackened 222 square miles (575 square kilometers). It was 45 percent contained and posed no immediate threat to populated areas. Crews managed to stop it from spreading toward Oroville, population 19,000.

A search and rescue dog searches for human remains at the Camp Fire, Friday, Nov. 16, 2018, in Paradise, Calif. (AP Photo/John Locher)

This patch of California, a former Gold Rush region in the Sierra Nevada foothills, is to some extent Trump country, with Trump beating Hillary Clinton in Butte County by 4 percentage points in 2016.

But some survivors resent that Trump took to Twitter two days after the disaster to blame the wildfires on poor forest mismanagement. He threatened to withhold federal payments from California.

“If you insult people, then you go visit them, how do you think you’re going to be accepted? You’re not going to have a parade,” Maggie Crowder of Magalia said Thursday outside an informal shelter at a Walmart parking lot in Chico.

But Stacy Lazzarino, who voted for Trump, said it would be good for the president to see the devastation up close: “I think by maybe seeing it he’s going to be like ‘Oh, my goodness,’ and it might start opening people’s eyes.”

In his Fox News interview on the eve of his visit, the president repeated his criticism. Asked if he thought climate change contributed to the fires, he said, “Maybe it contributes a little bit. The big problem we have is management.”

Nick Shawkey, a captain with the state fire agency, said the president’s tweet blaming poor forest management was based on a “misunderstanding.” The federal government manages 46 percent of land in California.

“The thing he’s tweeting about is his property,” Shawkey said.

California’s outgoing and incoming governors said they would join Trump on Saturday.

Democrats Gov. Jerry Brown and governor-elect Gavin Newsom said they welcomed the president’s visit and “now is a time to pull together for the people of California.” Brown and Newsom have been vocal critics of Trump.

There were also worries the presidential visit would be disruptive.

“It’s already a zoo here and I don’t care who the president is. He needs to wait because the traffic’s already horrendous,” said Charlotte Harkness, whose home in Paradise burned down. “He could just tweet something nice — three words: ‘I am sorry,’ and that’s fine.”

More than 450 searchers continued looking for human remains in the ashes.

Around 52,000 people have been driven out and have gone to shelters, motels and the homes of friends and relatives. With winter coming on, many are seeking answers on what assistance will be provided.

At the Chico Mall where the Federal Emergency Management Agency and others set up an assistance center, 68-year-old Richard Wilson sought information about lodging. His wife is nearly bedridden from lupus and fibromyalgia.

“We’re having to stay at a Marriott, which is like $100 a night, and we’re running out of money,” Wilson said as he stood outside in rubber sandals and no socks — the only footwear he had when he fled the flames that destroyed his home.

In Southern California , meanwhile, more residents were being allowed back in their homes near Los Angeles after a blaze torched an area the size of Denver and destroyed more than 600 homes and other structures. The blaze was 69 percent contained, authorities said.

At least three deaths were reported.

Schools across a large swath of the state were closed because of smoke, and San Francisco’s world-famous open-air cable cars were pulled off the streets.

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Associated Press reporters Janie Har and Olga Rodriguez in San Francisco contributed to this report.

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This story has been corrected to show that Crowder spoke by Walmart and that Wilson spoke at an assistance center.

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Economy

Frontier Flight Attendants vote to authorize strike

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Frontier Flight Attendants vote to authorize strike

Frontier Flight Attendants, represented by the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), today voted 99 percent to authorize a strike.

“Frontier Flight Attendants sent a strong message today that we are united in our fight for the contract we have earned,” said Jennifer Sala, AFA Frontier President. “We are ready to do whatever it takes to get the contract we deserve.”

Frontier Flight Attendants have picketed at Frontier-hub airports over the last six months. Frontier Pilots recently announced a tentative agreement, but Flight Attendants still face labor unrest.

Negotiations are overseen by the National Mediation Board and are scheduled to continue at the end of November. Lack of progress could lead to the National Mediation Board (NMB) declaring that negotiations are deadlocked and releasing both parties into a 30-day “cooling off” period leading to a strike deadline. AFA has a trademarked strike strategy known as CHAOS or Create Havoc Around Our System™. With CHAOS, a strike could affect the entire system or a single flight. The union decides when, where and how to strike without notice to management or passengers.

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