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FIU student who was killed in bridge collapse in honored at vigil

More than 700 people have gathered to honor the six victims who were killed after a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed at Florida International University last week. 

A student-led vigil was held at the university on Wednesday and featured a number of touching tributes to 18-year-old FIU student Alexa Duran – the youngest victim. 

Alberto Arias, 53, Navaro Brown, 37, Brandon Brownfield, 39, Rolando Fraga, 60, and 57-year-old Oswald Gonzalez were also killed during the horrific accident last week. 

Michaela Reyes and Sofia Rincon, two of Duran’s closest friends from high school, performed the Rihanna song Stay as tribute to the teen during the vigil.

Florida International University student Alexa Duran, 18, (right) was honored at a vigil for the six victims who were killed after a 950-ton pedestrian bridge collapsed last week

FIU president Mark Rosenberg presented flowers to Duran's family (pictured) before they prayed at the site of a memorial for the victims 

FIU president Mark Rosenberg presented flowers to Duran’s family (pictured) before they prayed at the site of a memorial for the victims 

Duran's friends said they would always remember the 'goofball' who was always happy and just wanted to 'make people laugh'

Duran’s friends said they would always remember the ‘goofball’ who was always happy and just wanted to ‘make people laugh’

Reyes and Rincon said they chose the song because Duran had sang it on a cruise they took after graduating high school together.

‘She had the most beautiful voice and the most humbling thing about it was that she didn’t tell anybody,’ one of the girls told the crowd. 

‘I want to sing this song for Alexa because she’s always going to stay in my heart. I want to share this piece of Alexa I have with you guys.’ 

Duran’s friends said they would always remember the ‘goofball’ who was always happy and just wanted to ‘make people laugh’. 

‘She loved to dance and go to parties, she was the life of the party,’ one of her friends told the Miami Herald. 

‘You’d never see her sitting down. She loved dancing and cheerleading and she loved to sing, she had the voice of an angel.’ 

Duran was giving her friend and fellow FIU student Richie Humble, 19, a ride to the doctor's office on the day the bridge collapse occurred.

Duran was giving her friend and fellow FIU student Richie Humble, 19, a ride to the doctor’s office on the day the bridge collapse occurred.

Michaela Reyes and Sofia Rincon (both pictured), two of Duran's closest friends from high school, performed the Rihanna song Stay as tribute to the teen during the vigil.

Michaela Reyes and Sofia Rincon (both pictured), two of Duran’s closest friends from high school, performed the Rihanna song Stay as tribute to the teen during the vigil.

After a performance of Amazing Grace by the FIU Concert Choir, hundreds marched together through campus to a makeshift memorial a block away from the site of the accident

After a performance of Amazing Grace by the FIU Concert Choir, hundreds marched together through campus to a makeshift memorial a block away from the site of the accident

‘I wish she could have shared that more with the world. There was so much potential in her that she didn’t really get to live out, but her legacy is going to live on forever.’   

Duran was giving her friend and fellow FIU student Richie Humble, 19, a ride to the doctor’s office on the day the bridge collapsed.

Humble hadn’t been feeling well that week and Duran volunteered to take him to the doctor so he could pick up his medication. 

They were stopped at a red light under the bridge when Humble heard a ‘long creak’. 

‘I looked up and, in an instant, the bridge was collapsing on us completely,’ he told the Associated Press. ‘It was too quick to do anything about it.’ 

Once he realized he was alive, Humble saw that he couldn’t get to Duran.   

As he called out for her, getting no response, a group of men outside the car started yelling at him to try crawling out of the car. They pried open the door to free him. 

Duran’s sorority sisters from Alpha Xi Delta arrived at the vigil in their chapter jerseys, and many members of her family were also in attendance. 

Flowers, wreaths, and stuffed animals were laid at the site to honor the six victims, who were killed last Thursday

Flowers, wreaths, and stuffed animals were laid at the site to honor the six victims, who were killed last Thursday

Oswald Gonzalez, 57 (left), and Alberto Arias, 53 (right), are being laid to rest on Wednesday

Oswald Gonzalez, 57 (left), and Alberto Arias, 53 (right), are being laid to rest on Wednesday

Gonzalez (pictured) and Arias (left), who were both from Cuba, had been life partners for 21 years

Their bodies were found on Saturday inside their white Chevy truck (Pictured, Arias)

Gonzalez (left) and Arias (right), who were both from Cuba, had been life partners for 21 years

 Married father-of-three Brandon Brownfield (pictured, right, with his wife) was the final victim named following the pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami on Thursday

 Married father-of-three Brandon Brownfield (pictured, right, with his wife) was the final victim named following the pedestrian bridge collapse in Miami on Thursday

FIU president Mark Rosenberg encouraged mourners to 'grieve together, to heal together' as he spoke at the vigil, which was held Wednesday morning 

FIU president Mark Rosenberg encouraged mourners to ‘grieve together, to heal together’ as he spoke at the vigil, which was held Wednesday morning 

‘No one will be able to understand how I feel. Alexa was my world and my life,’ her mother, Gina Duran, told The Associated Press. ‘Nothing will ever be the same.’

FIU president Mark Rosenberg presented flowers to the family before they prayed at the site of a memorial for Duran and the five other victims. 

Rosenberg encouraged mourners to ‘grieve together, to heal together’ as he spoke at the vigil. 

‘This is a strong community, a caring community, a community that will comfort one another through this, this is a community that rises time and again,’ he said.  

‘We are going to the carry the memory of the victims, we’ll carry that memory forever. Now is the time to grieve together, to heal together.’ 

‘So let our sadness galvanize us to stay the course of goodness and on promoting the hope and opportunity that will enable our community to rise stronger, to rise wiser, and to rise better as a consequence of this terrible loss.’

Flowers were laid beneath a large billboard, which read: 'Together the healing begins' 

Flowers were laid beneath a large billboard, which read: ‘Together the healing begins’ 

Before police officially identified Rolando Fraga Hernandez (pictured) as being among the dead on Saturday, his nephew, Jorge Fraga, told ABC News he planned to hold out hope until there was none left

Navarro Brown, 37 (pictured), was working with VSL Structural Technologies on the pedestrian bridge tightening cables when it collapsed. He died at the hospital

Rolando Fraga Hernandez, 60, (left) and Navarro Brown, 37, (right) are also among the victims

A brass band played a New Orleans-style funeral march while each mourner, carrying a long-stemmed daisy, walked to the memorial site (pictured) 

A brass band played a New Orleans-style funeral march while each mourner, carrying a long-stemmed daisy, walked to the memorial site (pictured) 

The memorial is just a block away from where the horrific accident occurred last week, killing six people and injuring nine others 

The memorial is just a block away from where the horrific accident occurred last week, killing six people and injuring nine others 

After a performance of Amazing Grace by the FIU Concert Choir, hundreds marched together through campus to a makeshift memorial a block away from the site of the accident, according to Local10.

A brass band played a New Orleans-style funeral march while each mourner walked with a long-stemmed daisy.

The flowers were laid beneath a large billboard, which read: ‘Together the healing begins’. 

Duran’s funeral is scheduled for Thursday. Arias and Gonzales will be laid to rest on Wednesday.  

Gonzalez and Arias, who were both from Cuba, had been life partners for 21 years. 

The collapse (pictured) is currently being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Only half of the debris from the accident has been cleared

The collapse (pictured) is currently being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board. Only half of the debris from the accident has been cleared

Florida Gov Rick Scott revealed on Monday he has suspended all future payments for the bridge until the investigation is complete 

Florida Gov Rick Scott revealed on Monday he has suspended all future payments for the bridge until the investigation is complete 

Arias’ nephew Luis said the pair, who owned a party rental and decoration business together, were ‘soulmates’, he told Local10.

Gonzalez and Arias were headed to a travel agency to pick up their tickets for an upcoming trip to Cuba when they were killed.

Their bodies were found on Saturday inside their white Chevy truck, two days after the accident.  

Arias and Gonzalez’s families have since revealed they plan to file a wrongful death lawsuit against bridge contractor MCM as well as FIU and the Florida Department of Transportation.   

One man, who was among the nine injured in the bridge collapse, has also filed a lawsuit against the contractor.  

The collapse is currently being investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board.  

Florida Gov Rick Scott revealed on Monday he has suspended all future payments for the bridge until the investigation is complete. 

Six crosses are placed at a makeshift memorial on the Florida International University campus in Miami on Saturday where six people were killed 

Six crosses are placed at a makeshift memorial on the Florida International University campus in Miami on Saturday where six people were killed 



Read more at DailyMail.co.uk