State: Voicemail about cracks 2 days before collapse
An engineer left a voicemail two days before a catastrophic bridge failure in Miami to say some cracking had been found at one end of the concrete span, but the voicemail wasn’t picked up until after the collapse, Florida Department of Transportation officials said Friday.
The voicemail left on a landline wasn’t heard by a state DOT employee until Friday because the employee was out of the office on an assignment, the agency said in an email.
In a transcript released Friday night, Denney Pate with FIGG Bridge Group says the cracking would need repairs “but from a safety perspective we don’t see that there’s any issue there so we’re not concerned about it from that perspective.”
At a news conference Friday night, officials from the National Transportation Safety Board said they have just begun their investigation, and cannot yet say whether that cracking contributed to the collapse. They also said workers were trying to strengthen a diagonal member on the pedestrian bridge at Florida International University when it collapsed.
Robert Accetta, the investigator-in-charge for the NTSB, said crews were applying post-tensioning force, but investigators aren’t sure if that’s what caused the bridge to fall.
The bridge collapsed Thursday, killing at least six people. Authorities are slowly removing the debris, looking for more victims.
“This is a tragedy that we don’t want to re-occur anywhere in the United States,” said Juan Perez, director of the Miami-Dade police. “We just want to find out what caused this collapse to occur and people to die.”
Detectives declared the rubble a homicide scene, and the NTSB arrived to investigate.