NTSB chairman: Agency will investigate Florida bridge collapse

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) will investigate the collapse of a pedestrian bridge at Florida International University (FIU) that killed several people on Thursday, the agency's chairman says.

NTSB Chairman Robert Sumwalt told reporters at a news briefing Thursday evening that NTSB officials had been dispatched to the greater Miami-area university and would begin their investigations Friday morning.

The collapse of the recently-installed $14.2 million pedestrian bridge at FIU occurred Thursday afternoon and caused "several fatalities," according to first responders.

Sumwalt described the agency's response as "multi-disciplinary," including officials from a variety of backgrounds.

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“We are launching a multi-disciplinary investigative team of 15 specialists in a number of areas, including civil engineering, material science, and survival factors," Sumwalt said.

“We should be arriving in Miami around 10:30 this evening, and then we will proceed straight to the site to begin meeting with the first responders," he added.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpMichelle Obama says not always easy to live up to "we go high" Georgia certifies elections results in bitterly fought governor's race Trump defends border deployment amid fresh scrutiny MORE was briefed on the situation and tweeted Thursday evening that his administration was "continuing to monitor" it.

"Continuing to monitor the heartbreaking bridge collapse at FIU - so tragic. Many brave First Responders rushed in to save lives. Thank you for your courage. Praying this evening for all who are affected," Trump tweeted.

University officials said they were "shocked and saddened" by the bridge's collapse, which occurred days after the main segment was installed and before the path was opened to foot traffic.

“We are shocked and saddened about the tragic events unfolding at the FIU-Sweetwater pedestrian bridge. At this time we are still involved in rescue efforts and gathering information," a spokeswoman for the university said. "We are working closely with authorities and first responders on the scene.”