A woman in Florida has tragically passed away after the draw bridge she was walking on opened beneath her.
As reported by NBC News affiliate WPTV, the older woman - whose name has not been made public - was walking with her bicycle along the Royal Park Bridge on Sunday. However, she was unable to make it across safely after the bridge started to go up.
West Palm Beach police have stated that she was just 10 feet away from the end of the bridge when she fell to her death through a gap in the road.
An investigation is now underway.More on this tragic story in the video below:
Mike Jachles, a spokesperson for West Palm Beach police, said in a statement: "The woman tried to hang on. There was a bystander nearby who tried to help her, but tragically she fell five or six stories below where she died landing on concrete."
Jachles also spoke about the safety protocols that are in place on the manned bridge, adding:
[[imagecaption|| Credit: Patrick Lynch / Alamy]]
"There is a bridge tender, and that bridge tender has certain safety protocols to follow, specific safety protocols [...] that includes lowering of the gates for the vehicles, lowering of the gates for the pedestrians, and making several visual confirmations that there is nobody at either of the spans or past those gates."
"The bridge tender actually comes out onto the catwalk, and walks around and does a visual inspection to make sure there are no cars or pedestrians or anyone else on the portion of the bridge on the inside of the gates that goes up." Jachles added.
Speaking to CNN affiliate WPBF, Jachles added that part of the investigation will "determine whether procedure was followed or whether this woman crossed after the signals were down."
Juan Orellana, an advocate for bicycle safety in the area, revealed that Royal Park Bridge is the most frequented bridge used by cyclists when crossing from Palm Beach Island to the mainland.
He also added that the bridge features alarms and barriers to help alert any pedestrians when the bridge is being prepared to rise.
"For one thing you will hear the bell even before the arms go down, so when you hear the bell you gotta get out of the way before the bridge goes up," Orellana said.
Speaking to WPTV, some residents have said that they have always felt safe on the bridge, while others did call for better signage to warn crossers.