Families, friends await updates on FIU bridge collapse victims

WEST MIAMI-DADE, FLA. (WSVN) - Loved ones are trying to remain hopeful as they gather at Florida International University for news on the victims from the pedestrian bridge collapse.

Some families who believe their loved one is a victim from the fatal tragedy were instructed to meet at FIU’s Student Academic Success Center (SASC). People patiently waiting told 7News they are hoping for the best while expecting the worst.

One victim has since been identified as 18-year-old FIU student Alexa Duran, according to El Nuevo Herald.

The victim’s father, Orlando Duran, said he heard about the incident while on a trip in London.

He told El Nuevo Herald, “My little girl was trapped in the car and couldn’t get out. She died when the bridge collapsed on top of her car. This is going to be the longest and saddest trip of my life. I don’t want to return.”

Alexa’s friend, Richie, was in the passenger seat of her car when the bridge collapsed. He barely survived.

“I started to hear the bridge creak, so I looked up and I saw the bridge falling on top of us,” Richie recalled, “and it fell on the roof of the car and caved in, and it kind of caved in on my neck and squished me down.”

Family members could be seen looking on near the scene of the collapsed bridge, watching as workers tried to get to Alexa’s car, Thursday afternoon.

A second victim has been identified, Friday afternoon. El Nuevo Herald reported bridge employee 37-year-old Navaro Brown also died in the collapse.

A company spokesperson said two other employees were hospitalized. They are listed in stable condition.

Other families continued to wait for updates on their loved ones, Friday.

“I’ve been trying to call him and call him, and nothing,” said Jorge Fraga, whose uncle is missing.

Fraga’s family fears that his uncle, 60-year-old Rolando Gonzalez, may be a victim of the bridge collapse.

Family members said they have yet to hear from Gonzalez since the bridge at FIU fell. Fraga said he last heard from Gonzalez around noon, Thursday.

“He’s been missing since yesterday about 12 p.m.,” said Fraga.

A family friend said they spotted a Jeep Cherokee similar to Gonzalez’s under the collapsed bridge.

Fraga’s wife Carol remains in shock. “I never imagined that this could happen to my family or to me,” she said. “I’m in bitter shock.”

They have been calling hospitals to try and locate Gonzalez.

“You call the hospital and his name is not there,” said Carol. “You call the Red Cross, and his name is not there. The waiting. So, I don’t know. I don’t know how to explain.”

Officials said the bridge collapse has gone from a rescue operation to a recovery mission. However, some families do not have any answers as the efforts continue.

Brandon Brownfield, a husband and father of three, is said to be one of the people who are missing.

His wife told 7News that his coworkers said he lost his life in the bridge collapse. She said she hasn’t received any updates from police.

U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio visited survivors at Kendall Regional Medical Center on Friday. He thanked nurses, doctors and first responders for their service.

Rubio said his office is also working to make sure another situation like this does not happen again.

Officials have confirmed at least six people have died due to the collapsed bridge.

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