Monday, July 28, 2008

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Minneapolis bridge collapses during rush hour
Estimated 50 vehicles involved; at least 1 drowns in river; 28 reported hurt

MINNEAPOLIS - A busy highway bridge that spans the Mississippi River just northeast of Minneapolis collapsed during rush hour Wednesday, sending a school bus, other vehicles and tons of concrete crashing into the water.
The entire span of the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. A tractor-trailer caught fire, and flame and black smoke billowed into the sky.
An estimated 50 vehicles plunged into the water and onto the land below, the Star Tribune reported.

At least one person drowned, and at least 28 people reportedly were injured.
Six of those hurt were children, said officials from the Hennepin County Medical Center. Six individuals being treated were in critical condition, Dr. Joseph Clinton said.
A Twin Cities radio station reported that a body covered with a blue sheet was taken from the scene of the collapse. It was not known if these two victims were the same person.
NBC News reported that every Minneapolis ambulance had been requested to the scene.
A freight train was passing under the bridge when it collapsed and was cut in two, WCCO television reported.
A spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security said there is no reason to think that terrorism was involved in the collapse, NBC News' Pete Williams reported.
"We continue to monitor the situation. At this time, there's no indication of a nexus to terrorism," department spokesman Russ Knocke said in Washington.
School bus involvedA burning truck and a school bus clung to one slanted slab after the collapse. The school bus reportedly had just crossed the bridge before the bridge crumpled into pieces, and local broadcast reports indicated the children, none of whom were injured, exited out the back door of the bus.
Local television stations captured video of injured people being carried up the riverbank. Divers were also in the water.
Some people were stranded on parts of the bridge that aren't completely in the water.
A nursing supervisor at Hennepin County Medical Center interviewed by local WCCO radio said, "We have multiple patients. Some critical, some non-critical.”
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Police set up floodlights to continue their rescue work into the night.
911 caller reactsWorkers have been repairing the 40-year-old bridge's surface all summer along that stretch of the interstate, reported. The arched bridge rises about 64 feet above the river.

One 911 caller said she could see the construction workers using a jackhammers when the bridge collapsed close to her car.
"She saw it and she said she just gunned it and just made it out of there," Tashia Brown, a 911 operator, told the
The Minnesota Department of Transportation told local media that 200,000 cars a day use the bridge.
'It shook the ground'Ritha Boyle, 22, who said she lives about 200 yards from the bridge, witnessed the collapse.
"At first I just heard a big bang and I thought it was thunderstorms," Boyle told "Then I looked outside I noticed there was dust coming up from the bridge, and then I saw it go down and hit a train. I saw some cars trying to hit their brakes and stuff like that, and a whole bunch of cars went down."
Ramon Houge of St. Paul was on his way home from work at Wells Fargo and was driving on the bridge when heard a rumbling noise, saw the ground collapse and cars go down, reported.

“It didn’t seem like it was real,” he said. Traffic was bumper to bumper and hundreds of people would have been involved, he told the Star Tribune, adding that he saw kids on a bus with blood on their faces.
Baseball events postponed Sarah Fahnhorst, who lives in an apartment a block away from the bridge, heard a huge thud and then “the entire building shook. It shook the ground,” she told the Star Tribune. reported that many vehicles were trying to get to the 7:10 p.m. CT Twins game at the nearby Metrodome. Wednesday's game was continuing.
The team postponed Thursday night's game against the Kansas City Royals in response to the incident.
The Minnesota Ballpark Authority also postponed a groundbreaking ceremony for a new stadium that was scheduled for Thursday evening., NBC News, The Star Tribune, The Associated Press and Reuters contributed to this report.

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