1 construction worker dead, 1 hurt after Metromover crash in Miami

MIAMI (WSVN) - One man is dead and another was injured after a Metromover rail car collided with a construction lift in Downtown Miami.

Just before 1 a.m., Wednesday, Miami Fire Rescue was dispatched to the station, near Northwest First Avenue and Fifth Street.

According to officials, two construction workers, 37-year-old Luis Perez and 43-year-old Oscar Cabrera, were inside the lift when the Metromover crashed into them.

“Everyday, construction is very dangerous, very dangerous,” said Paul Mincey, a construction worker on site.

First responders said upon their arrival, they found Cabrera, who had been ejected from the lift, and Perez dangling from a ledge. “A Metromover rail car struck an elevating construction boom,” said Miami Fire Rescue Captain Ignatius Carroll.

“When paramedics arrived, we found numerous construction workers on the ground tending to their co-workers,” Carroll said. “One was in extremely critical condition. We had to perform CPR on him and transport him to Ryder Trauma Center.”

No passengers were on the Metromover at the time of the crash.

Both construction workers were transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital. Cabrera was transported in extremely critical condition and pronounced dead at the hospital. Perez was transported in stable condition and was released from the hospital later Wednesday morning.

“Very devastating because I work on things like that myself,” Mincey said. “I drive and move lifts and all that, but as far as being as close to that as they was, you know, it’s a tragedy – one survivor, one dead. That could’ve been me.”

Cabrera’s wife and family gathered at the hospital Wednesday morning.

They released a statement to 7News that read, “Oscar Cabrera was my loving husband for the past 20 years. He was also a devoted stepfather, helping to raise my two daughters. I, along with his family and friends are devastated at Oscar’s untimely death. We ask for our privacy to be respected during this difficult time.”

The Suffolk construction company that Cabrera worked for also released a statement that read in part, “We learned about this terribly sad incident early this morning, and our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the two individuals involved. We are currently working closely with the Miami-Dade Police Department, Miami-Dade Transit and OSHA as they continue to investigate the cause of this accident.”

The construction site is now shut down and officials with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration have been contacted.

Investigators are now working to figure out what caused the crash. “We’re not sure exactly where they were on that boom, how high it was up, where it was actually located when the impact happened,” said Carroll.

Metromover sent out an alert shortly after the accident, stating that the Inner Loop would be shut down on Wednesday until further notice. “I mean, it’s sad,” said Metromover commuter Meagan Wander. “I didn’t even know the Metromover worked at 1 o’clock in the morning, so a miscommunication cost somebody their life.”

The Metromover service runs from 5 a.m. to midnight, Monday through Sunday. According to Miami-Dade Transit, it is typical for routine maintenance to take place during after hours of operation.

The Metromover car in question was in the process of a maintenance run when the impact occurred.

A free bus shuttle has been set up to provide transport between Government Center and Miami Avenue.

“Miami-Dade Transit was here as well to survey the area,” said Carroll, “and they are also putting in place alternative means of people getting around Downtown Miami, with buses that will be at different stations.”

Miami-Dade Transit released a statement Wednesday afternoon, that said safety is a top priority and that they are cooperating with investigating authorities.

The Metromover interloop will reopen at 5 a.m., Thursday.

The investigation into what happened remains ongoing.

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