Witnesses describe hearing victims trapped in Miami bridge collapse

Last Updated Mar 15, 2018 6:51 PM EDT

SWEETWATER, Fla. -- Rescue workers are searching for survivors of a catastrophic bridge collapse in Miami. A number of people were killed, and 10 people are in the hospital, with two in very critical condition.

The harrowing collapse happened shortly before 2 p.m.

"The whole bridge is out across the whole side of 8th Street," a dispatcher said.

The newly constructed pedestrian bridge -- 950 tons of concrete and steel -- came crashing down on the busy six-lane thoroughfare below. Vehicles were pancaked beneath the rubble. One horrified driver captured the scene on video just moments after escaping death.

"Look what fell on us," he said in Spanish. "Thank God nothing happened to us, but the people in front of us -- the people just died."

Emergency workers scrambled to rescue survivors. Witnesses said they could hear frantic calls for help from those still trapped in the wreckage.

"I jumped out of my car, locked my car and I ran towards the victims to see if we could help anybody, but the only thing you could see were the car lights in the front. It's totally smashed, almost to the ground," witness Susan Bermudez said. "There was only one girl that survived."

Fire division chief Paul Estopinan said teams were in search-and-rescue mode.

"They're still working the debris pile. We have search dogs in place," Estopinan said. "We're drilling holes into the pile to try and locate viable patients."

The 750-foot pedestrian bridge was installed just this past Saturday, connecting Florida International University (FIU) and the city of Sweetwater. Even though it was still not open to foot traffic, the elevated span was seen as a welcome addition to the neighborhood -- and thought to be a safer crossing for thousands of FIU students.