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Interstate 35W Bridge Collapses Into Mississippi River In MN

By Pamela Jean     Aug 1, 2007 in World
A four lane highway which spans the Mississippi River suddenly collapsed. At 6:05, at the peak of rush hour, the bridge plunged 35 feet to the water below. An estimated 100 cars were on the bridge at the time. Numerous injuries are being reported.
The bridge, built in 1967, was the main thoroughfare to the downtown Minneapolis area. It has been under construction, with pothole and cement repairs underway. No structural issues were being addressed.
Suddenly, without warning, the bridge collapsed, plunging 35 feet to the river below. Cars were left stranded on portions of the bridge that sat just above water. Occupants were witnessed crawling from their vehicles and standing roadside, shouting for help.
A school bus filled with children had just crossed the bridge before it crumpled behind them. At least 8 trucks and vehicles were seen plunging into the river.
All emergency vehicles from all areas of the Twin Cities have been summoned to the scene. Hospitals are reporting critically injured patients arriving in large numbers. There are no confirmed numbers regarding injuries and potential fatalities.
Survivors report various events, such as one woman that was looking at the highway repairmen, jackhammers in hand, just prior to the bridge collapsing, taking the workers with it. Trucks and cars burst into flames.
Over 200,000 cars pass over the bridge on a daily basis. The Twins ball team was scheduled to play this evening, causing the bridge to have even heavier than normal traffic for this time of day.
One truck was completely torn in half, fortunately the driver was unharmed. People are in shock, and the views being broadcast live on television in the Twin Cities resemble the look of an explosion. Persons in apartment complexes nearby report that their entire buildings shook from the impact of the bridges collapse.
There has been some question as to whether this is an act of terrorism. A spokesperson from Homeland Security have issued a statement indicating that they have no reason to believe that this was such.
Police and the media are urging people to stay clear of the area, but there are reportedly dozens and dozens of people rushing to the area in an effort to take a look and take photographs.
Time lapse photography (from a source who asked to remain unidentified) showes the Interstate 35W bridge center section collapsing into the Mississippi River in a few seconds.
Some reports indicate that another portion of the bridge is in precarious condition, and may collapse as well.
Cell phone service is jammed with calls, many unable to reach loved ones which may have been present on the bridge at the time of the collapse.
I personally have travelled over this bridge 3 times in the past 5 days. My mother went over it twice today.
This collapse is catastrophic in more ways than one. This is a main route in and out of Minneapolis, and will no doubt cause major delays in the coming days.
All of our local stations here in the Twin Cities are playing footage of the wounded and frightened wandering about on the scene. It is truly surreal to witness.
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