Latest: Four people found dead, nine taken to hospital in Miami bridge collapse

emergency personnel work at the scene of a collapsed bridge in the Miami area. Photo: WPLG-TV via AP

Update 12.37am: Four people have been found dead in the rubble of a collapsed pedestrian bridge in south Florida, the Miami-Dade County fire chief has said.

Dave Downey said at a news briefing that the four people had been found at the scene by first responders. He also said nine victims were removed "early on" and taken to hospitals. He did not elaborate on their conditions.

He said "search and rescue mode" would be continuing after nightfall.

Donald Trump said the Florida International University (FIU) bridge collapse was "heartbreaking" and "so tragic".

The US president tweeted: "Many brave First Responders rushed in to save lives. Thank you for your courage. Praying this evening for all who are affected."

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue Department posted a picture on Twitter of crew members working at the site of the collapsed bridge.

Earlier, Division Chief Paul Estopinan said at a news conference that rescuers were continuing to search the rubble for people who may still be trapped underneath.

Update 10.44pm: Up to ten people have died after a new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a road in Miami, crushing at least five vehicles under massive slabs.

Between six to 10 people are believed to have been killed.

"Several people were killed. I just don't know how many," said a Florida Highway Patrol spokesman.

Eight vehicles were trapped in the wreckage.

Earlier: 'Several fatalities' after pedestrian bridge collapses in Florida, officials say

Update 7.55pm: A new pedestrian bridge collapsed onto a road at a Miami-area college, crushing at least five vehicles under massive slabs and killing several people, authorities said.

Several people were seen being loaded into ambulances and authorities launched search and rescue missions.

Florida Highway Patrol Lieutenant Alejandro Camacho told CBS News that there were "several fatalities".

Miami-Dade Fire Rescue tweeted that "multiple" people were injured when the Florida International University bridge collapsed.

Authorities said they were working on confirming the numbers.

The bridge was still under construction and expected to open to foot traffic next year.

"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," the statement said.

The 14.2 million US dollars bridge crossed over a busy seven-lane highway that divided the university's campus from the city of Sweetwater.

The 950-ton span was installed on Saturday to great fanfare.

The main part of the 174-foot span was assembled by the side of the road and had to be moved into place.

The "accelerated bridge construction" method was supposed to reduce risks to workers and pedestrians and minimise traffic disruption, the university said.

"FIU is about building bridges and student safety. This project accomplishes our mission beautifully," FIU President Mark B. Rosenberg said in the statement on Saturday.

The National Transportation Safety Board sent investigators to the scene. Governor Rick Scott tweeted that he was heading there as well.

"I will be in constant communication with law enforcement throughout the day," the governor said.

MCM, the Miami-based construction management firm that won the bridge contract, took its website down on Thursday.

But an archived version of the website featured a news release touting the project.

"This our first Design-Build with FIGG Bridge Engineers, a nationally acclaimed, award-winning firm based out of Tallahassee. FIGG has designed iconic bridges all over the country, including Boston's famous Leonard P. Zakim Bridge and Florida's Sunshine Skyway Bridge."

MCM said on Twitter that it was "a family business and we are all devastated and doing everything we can to assist.

"We will conduct a full investigation to determine exactly what went wrong and will cooperate with investigators on scene in every way."

A message left at FIGG's office in Tallahassee was not immediately returned.

Florida International University is the second-largest university in the state, with 55,000 students.

Most of its students live off-campus and they were on spring break when the collapse happened.

The bridge was supposed to be a safe way to cross a busy street and a plaza-like public space with seating where people could gather.

In August 2017, a university student was killed crossing the road that the bridge was supposed to span.

Florida International University is also home to the National Hurricane Centre.

Earlier: Several people injured after pedestrian bridge collapses in Florida, officials say

Update 7pm: A newly-installed pedestrian bridge has collapsed at Florida International University in the Miami area.

According to officials, several people have been injured and local media is reporting that there may be a number of fatalities.

There are also at least five vehicles trapped under the collapsed structure.

The 950-ton span fell this afternoon at the US university's main Miami-area campus.

The main part of the 174-foot span was assembled by the side of the road while support towers were built at either end. The $14.2 m bridge was only installed on Saturday.

Video showed fire engines, police and other emergency vehicles at the scene.

More information to follow...

- Press Association and Digital Desk

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