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Cyclist dies after falling from rising drawbridge in Palm Beach, Florida

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A woman has died in the US after falling from a drawbridge that was raised as she was walking across it with her bicycle.

She was about 10fT away from the end of the Royal Park Bridge, which connects Palm Beach to mainland Florida, when it opened and she fell through a gap at about 1pm on Sunday, according to NBC affiliate WPTV.

A bystander attempted to pull her to safety but lost his grip, officials said.

“The woman tried to hang on,” West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said.

“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.”

He noted that there was a bridge worker who is responsible for following safety procedures in managing the bridge.

An investigation into the woman’s death is under way, with a focus on why the bridge was raised while a pedestrian was still on it.

The bridge worker was reportedly “distraught”, according to some newspapers.

The Florida Department of Transportation looks after the bridge, but the bridge tenders work for a private state contractor.

“Palm Beach is accessible only through three bridges and this is the main bridge, so it’s very used by cyclists,” bicycle safety advocate Juan Orellana said.

There are bells and whistles on the bridge to warn drivers and pedestrians that it is being opened.

“For one thing you will hear the bell before the arms go down, so when you hear the bell you’ve got to get out of the way before the bridge goes up,” he said.

The woman has not been named.

The bridge was shut for more than six hours after her death, finally reopening around 7pm, police said.

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