Florida bridge collapse victim’s uncle blasts decision to let cars pass below, the unfinished span

Joe Smitha of jacksonville, Fla., speaks with reporters on Saturday, 17 March 2018, about his niece, Alexa Duran, whose family has identified her as one of at least six victims of a bridge collapse near the Florida International University campus in the Miami area on March 15.

(Associated Press)

The uncle of one of the victims of Thursday’s bridge collapse in Miami blasted what he called the “complete incompetence” and “colossal failure” of the decision to the people to drive under the bridge while it was still under construction.

“Why they had to build this monstrosity in the first place to get children on the other side of the street?” said Joe Smitha, whose niece, Alexa Duran, 18, was one of the people killed. “When they decided to stress test the bridge while the traffic was conducted under?”

“Why they had to build this monstrosity in the first place to get children on the other side of the street? Then they decided to stress test the bridge while the traffic was conducted under?”

– Joe Smitha, uncle from Florida bridge collapse victim

Smitha spoke Saturday as crews worked to recover the last of the victims crushed by 950 tonnes of debris from the bridge fell Thursday in the afternoon.

The police in Miami say that they have now recovered all six victims of the collapse of a planned pedestrian bridge that will connect the International university of Florida to the city of Sweetwater.

“We finally have the last victim,” Miami-Dade police Director Juan Perez said at an evening press conference, adding that the identity of the last two victims have not yet been confirmed.

The cause of the bridge failure is still under investigation, including officials from the National Transportation Safety Board.

The NTSB has confirmed that the crew were to apply what is known as “post-tension” on the bridge before the error. The authorities shall examine the crack of that message was just for the span fell contributed to the accident.


Miami-Dade police earlier released the names of the three people who were killed in the sudden lunch collapse of the span, which is installed to connect the International University of Florida to the City of Sweetwater. The victims were identified as Oswald Gonzalez, 57; Alberto Arias, 54; and Rolando Fraga Hernandez, 60.

Navarro Brown, 37, was also identified as a victim early Saturday, but police said he died in a hospital shortly after the accident.


Brown was an employee of Structural Technologies, VSL, although it remained unclear what work he was doing on the bridge at the time of the collapse.

The first victim identified was Duran, who was a student at FIU. She died after the construction collapsed down on her vehicle.

In a tweet Friday, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., wrote that Duran’s death “hits close to home,” because she studied political science — that Rubio teaches at the university.

The first of many heartbreaking stories that we read in the days to come. This hits close to home. Master Student in political science @FIU where I teach in this department is among the dead after #MiamiBridgeCollapse

— Marco Rubio (@marcorubio) March 16, 2018


On Saturday, press conference, Rubio prices of the NTSB investigation for all of progress in just 24 hours. He noted, however, that the research could in the last few months, as will be explored in the engineering of the bridge, and the decisions behind the construction.

A message from President Rosenberg on the collapse of the bridge on 8th Street. #FIUBridge

— FIU (@FIU) March 16, 2018

Moment of silence be held Monday at 1:47 pm

— FIU (@FIU) March 18, 2018

“These are not easily defeated,” Rubio said, according to the Miami Herald. “This is no three months to four months of the processes.”

“This was no easy task,” police director Perez said, referring to the recovery of the body. “Now that we’re in the proof-the recovery mode and the investigation … We will continue to work hand-in-hand with the NTSB.”

In a statement Saturday, FIU President Mark Rosenberg said that the university is a moment of silence at 1:47 pm Monday, which coincides with the time the bridge fell.

“I have family members and friends of the victims. My heart goes out to them,” Rosenberg wrote. “There is nothing I can say to ease their pain, but we put our arms around them and to do everything in our power to support them. … It will take time for our community to heal.”

Fox News’ Kathleen Joyce, Matt Richardson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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