Highway bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota, collapses
These Pictures were captured by SEWilco, a freelance journalist writing for Wikinews.
The Interstate 35W Mississippi River eight-lane bridge in Minneapolis, Minnesota has collapsed on both sides of the highway over the Mississippi River during rush hour traffic. The entire length of the bridge over the river collapsed at 6:05 p.m. CDT (UTC-5). The road was busy with traffic in four lanes when the entire 1907 foot (581 m) steel arch bridge collapsed. The bridge, built in 1967, cleared the water level by 64 feet; the deck surface and pavement were considerably higher.
At least nine people who were on the bridge at the time of the collapse have died, 60 have been injured and at least 20 are missing, still believed to be in the rubble. At least 50 cars were traveling on the bridge, including a school bus. The Red Cross said that 60 children were aboard a school bus, and that of those ten were admitted to a hospital. As many as 60 people have been injured due to the collapse.
Reports say that people may be trapped in the water. Further, "many voids may contain survivors, but we cannot search those voids until it's safe," said Jim Clack, Minneapolis Fire Chief, during a press conference.
"One has died from drowning," said a doctor from the medical center during an 8:00 pm press conference, who also said that so far 22 are in "yellow condition" and at least six are in "critical condition."
Minneapolis officials have stated during an earlier press conference that the "People are being sent downtown and all survivors are off the bridge. We are seeking help from the Red Cross. At least six are confirmed dead and at least 60 children are receiving trauma care some with severe injures, some with minor injuries."
Most of the injured have been received by Hennepin County Medical Center in downtown Minneapolis for medical treatment. Area hospitals are requesting all off duty staff and all Minneapolis ambulances to report. Residents are being encouraged to stay away from the area to let emergency crews do their work.
It is not known what caused the collapse, but there was construction being performed on the bridge's road surface which included the use of jackhammers and the FBI has ruled out terrorism.
"Although it is much too early to make any determination of the cause, we have no reason at this time to believe there is any nexus to terrorism," said Paul McCabe, an FBI spokesman.
In 2001 a stress inspection was done and Minnesota Department of Transportation stated that the bridge "should not have any problems with fatigue cracking in the foreseeable future."
The American Red Cross has asked all those willing to
give blood or assist to please contact the Twin Cities Red Cross through their website or by calling either +1-651-291-4680, or +1-651-332-7000. Leave a message at (612) 871-7676 to get information about victims.