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FIU Bridge Collapse Crane Operator Fled in Crane?

FIU Bridge Collapse Crane Operator Fled in Crane?

The collapsed FIU pedestrian bridge (Pedro Portal/Getty Images)

By    |   Tuesday, 15 May 2018 08:30 AM

The FIU bridge collapse crane operator who many thought had fled the scene after the deadly March accident – in his crane no less – was actually just making room for emergency personnel, the crane company's lawyer said. Police agreed.

The mystery of why the crane left the scene at Florida International University on March 15 after a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed has built since the incident killed six people, the Miami Herald reported.

Little information had been given on the bridge collapse investigation since, and many have wondered what happened to the crane, which was at the scene initially but was missing in the critical hours after the accident as witnesses and first responders tried to save lives, the Herald said.

"He drove away in the crane and nobody stopped him," said Carl Robertson, 73, a homeless man who lives near the site of the bridge and who called 911 when the accident happened, per the Herald.

Photos and video taken immediately after incident showed the crane, rented from the Sweetwater company George's Crane, was present on the downed bridge's northwest side, and some speculated that it could have used to help, the Herald said.

Authorities told the Herald that they didn’t believe the unidentified crane operator fled the scene or caused the accident, but instead drove the crane a short distance away and then offered his help.

"The emergency vehicles needed access," Bryant Blevins, an attorney for George's Crane, told the Herald. "They were getting there pretty quickly after the collapse. At that point, he had to move the crane."

Blevins said the crane operator returned to the scene and was later interviewed by the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, according to the Herald. Police confirmed that the operator returned voluntarily and was interviewed about the incident.

The Sun Sentinel reported the bridge, called the FIU-Sweetwater UniversityCity Bridge, was built by MCM and designed by FIGG Bridge Engineers.

The family of FIU student Alexa Duran, 18, who was killed in bridge collapsed with five others, filed a lawsuit last month against MCM construction, FIGG Engineering and seven other subcontractors associated with the project, WFOR-TV reported.

The Duran family attorney, Alan Goldfarb, said the companies were negligent and reckless and failed to protect the student and the other victims.

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The FIU bridge collapse crane operator who many thought had fled the scene after the deadly March accident – in his crane no less – was actually just making room for emergency personnel, the crane company's lawyer said. Police agreed.
fiu, bridge collapse, crane, operator
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2018-30-15
Tuesday, 15 May 2018 08:30 AM
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