Wednesday, August 01, 2007

 

We Can't Even Trust the Ground Beneath Our Feet

The I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul has collapsed. This is not how Minnesota wants to make national news. We first heard at 6:25 p.m. CST, while watching our local news - WCCO. At that time, Jason DeRusha, one of WCCO's reporters, broke in with a special report. It was obvious that he was shaken. He was calling in about the bridge collapse, but there wasn't any video from the scene at that point. We switched channels to the other Twin Cities stations - KARE 11 and KSTP Channel 5 - and saw the video. Holy crap! The entire bridge is flattened, with a portion in the river. The reports say that between 30 and 50 vehicles were involved. The earliest reports concentrated on a school bus, which had kids ages 8-14 returning from a field trip on it. One of the eyewitnesses had actually survived the accident - his vehicle fell around 50 feet - and he climbed out and was helping the kids out of the bus. Other eyewitnesses say that the bridge collapsed from both ends following a rumble. The news coverage seems to be revolving around the river section of the bridge, but from the video it appears that the bridge has collapsed over a couple of other sections of road. Hard to tell.

Hubby was on a chat forum when we first got the news and a lady from Portland, Oregon, had already heard. We were wondering how, because it was a local story. Hubby quickly checked MSNBC and CNN and both were covering the story.

Things are still being sorted out. Emergency vehicles are everywhere. There's been one confirmed death, from drowning. We still don't know, and probably won't for a while, if anyone was under the bridge.

An hour after the bridge collapse, which occurred at 6:09 p.m., the news reported that the FBI will be investigating to rule out terrorism, although after one of the newscasters read a portion of a 2006 report on the structural condition of the bridge, it is most likely that the cause of the collapse was structural damage. The bridge was having repair work done at the time, supposedly on the road deck. Hubby and I were hoping there weren't any construction workers underneath the bridge.

8: 35-8:38 p.m. - Wait . . . this just in . . . another section of the collapsed road was shown. This section had crushed a train. Also, there is a report that there were no construction workers underneath the bridge.

When a tragedy of this magnitude strikes this close to home, it's especially heart-wrenching. Our daughter was in the Twin Cities yesterday and today, but thankfully wasn't on I-35. We're sending our good wishes to all of those involved and are hoping that fatalities are minimal.

Correction (August 3, 2007): The bridge collapsed at 6:05 p.m.

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