FORT LAUDERDALE, FLA. (WSVN) - The aftermath of the deadly crane collapse on the Southeast Third Avenue Bridge has left one construction worker dead and two people injured as the structure reopened Friday morning.

The incident, which occurred near the New River around 4:30 p.m. Thursday, also led to the damage of a Tesla SUV and a minivan after debris fell onto the bridge, creating a significant hole on the road that led to the closure of the bridge. Initially, the collapse raised concerns about the bridge’s structural integrity.

“When the piece of crane fell through, it punctured directly through the entire concrete deck and broke through the steel,” said Anh Ton, Broward County Director of Highway and Bridge Maintenance.

While workers focused on the significant hole left by the crane, officials said the drawbridge stayed aligned.

“If alignment is off by half an inch, it wouldn’t work. Fortunately, when we tested the bridge last night, the alignment was still in place,” said Ton.

The bridge, owned by Broward County, had repairs done to it overnight but officials said they are temporary. Crews are set to eventually close down the bridge again for more in-depth repair work, which they said, will occur during overnight hours to minimize disruptions.

“Unfortunately it’s downtown Fort Lauderdale, so that is the sense of urgency, to make sure the bridge is functional,” said Ton.

Officials said it will take four weeks to design the permanent fix and then another couple months to install it.

But for now, Broward County’s structural engineers, who spent most of Thursday night on the bridge, said it is safe for travel.

“I drove through it myself multiple times and I wouldn’t do that unless I felt it was completely safe,” said Ton.

7Skyforce was overhead Friday morning where a steel plate was seen covering the hole made by the collapse. Traffic was moving along the road as investigators gathered at the high-rise under construction where the crane was being used.

“We had a one-inch steel plate that was large. We put it on top of where that hole was, that way when the vehicles go over, it serves as temporary deck to split the load out,” said Ton.

According to fire rescue officials, a man and woman were transported to Broward Health Medical Center in stable condition. Both victims were released from the hospital on Friday morning.

The construction worker killed in this incident fell with one of the loads off the side of the building and succumbed to their injuries, police said. The identity of the deceased worker has not been released.

Mark Cerezin, the Tesla driver, recalled the moments when he narrowly avoided the piece of the crane, crediting the vehicle’s design to his survival.

“It was just an instinct. It was just a reaction, peripheral reaction, slamming on the brakes,” said Cerezin. “I have a Tesla, it’s all glass on top, so I saw here coming down, and that’s when I gauged, I guess, by a split second. Had I not slammed as hard as I had with my foot, I’m not here speaking to you.”

Cerezin did not need to be taken to the hospital but his Tesla was damaged, saying the front of his car didn’t appear to be there.

“I hit the front of my car. It was like slow motion. And then I just saw the front of my car just disappeared. It just, like, sliced it,” he recounted. “Then that piece of metal bounced in the air and then went to the right and landed on another car.”

Experts said that had the Tesla not taken the brunt of the impact, the bridge would’ve been damaged far worse.

After speaking to the crane operator, fire officials said the crane fell in the process of being adjusted.

“It is my understanding from the construction company that they were doing a process at the time called stepping the crane. It was not the crane that failed; it was a platform that they had equipment staged on that had failed at the time of the incident,” said Fort Lauderdale Fire Rescue Chief Stephen Gollan.

Witnesses and local residents described the chaos and their shock.

Jason Taub, who was working from his apartment, said he had been watching the crane for about 20 minutes and started to record the crane being hoisted up on his phone, but as soon as he stopped, he heard a strange sound.

“All of a sudden I hear a pop,” said Taub. “And then I see the piece tumbling and tumbling down.”

“It looked like it was falling in slow motion and I screamed ‘Oh, my God’, and I see it fall right on top of the car,” said a woman who lives on the ninth floor of the building in front of the construction site. “Right away, you can see the driver walk away, but you can hear her screaming, but it was so scary to witness.”

Video obtained by 7News shows Cerezin comforting the woman who was driving the minivan, who is seen visibly distraught.

Cerezin said he took off his shirt to help the woman. He is in disbelief that he hit the brakes just seconds before the crane fell down.

“There was a lady that was bleeding, and I took off my shirt and put compression and helped her,” he said.

Cerezin said he feels grateful and lucky to be alive.

“From, of course, this day forward, I’m just happy to go home to my wife. I’m happy to go home to my family and to my friends. I’m just so grateful,” he said.

On Friday, the 911 calls were released showing distressed drivers watching the incident unfold.

“A crane just broke down on a car on the bridge,” said one caller. “Oh my God, I can’t believe what I just saw.”

Fire rescue officials have since secured the crane and the area has been cleared of debris and damaged vehicles as investigations by several agencies, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, U.S. Coast Guard, and the Florida Department of Transportation, continue.

The closure of bridge caused significant traffic and stopped marine traffic along the New River, but since it’s reopening, all traffic has returned to normal.

KAST Construction, the company working on the high-rise where the crane was being used, has been contacted for comment on this incident.

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