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Several people killed in US as new bridge collapses

Several people died when a new bridge collapsed in Florida. Picture from Pedro Portal/The Miami Herald via AP

SEVERAL people have been killed in the US state of Florida after a new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a road at a Miami-area college, crushing at least five vehicles under massive slabs.

People were seen being loaded into ambulances and authorities launched search and rescue missions after yesterday's collapse.

Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Alejandro Camacho told CBS News that there were "several fatalities".

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tweeted that "multiple" people were injured when the Florida International University bridge collapsed.

Authorities said last night they were working on confirming the numbers.

The bridge was still under construction and expected to open to foot traffic next year.

The $14.2 million bridge crossed over a busy seven-lane highway that divided the university's campus from the city of Sweetwater.

The "accelerated bridge construction" method was supposed to reduce risks to workers and pedestrians and minimise traffic disruption, the university said.

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully," FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in the statement on Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene. Governor Rick Scott tweeted that he was heading there as well.

"I will be in constant communication with law enforcement throughout the day," the governor said.

MCM, the Miami-based construction management firm that won the bridge contract, tweeted yesterday that it was "a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist".

"We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on scene in every way," it said.

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