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Death count stands at six in Minnesota bridge collapse

Friday, August 3, 2007
/ Source: KSBY-TV

Friday, August 3, 2007

Reported by: , Jay Gray, NBC News

MINNESOTA

Crews resume their search today for the victims in Wednesday's bridge collapse in Minnesota.

Here's the latest:

  • The death count stands at six with 30 people still missing.
  • Nearly 80 people were hospitalized after the collapse.
  • Strong water currents and poor visibility are making the rescue effort difficult.
  • The 40-year old bridge was labeled "structurally deficient" after an inspection in 2005.
  • Local transportation officials say the bridge had been inspected annually since 1993.

President Bush has pledged federal aid for the rescue efforts, including a five million dollar grant from the Transportation Department.

Nightfall. And still few, if any answers in Minneapolis last night.

"Sherri was on that on that bridge, why did that bridge fail?" questioned Ronald Engebretsen, husband of one of the victims.

Now, more than 36 hours after this bridge cracked and fell apart. The horror will not go away. Nor will the heartache for those who have suffered the greatest loss.

"I thought maybe she was just stuck in traffic, of course as time went on last night and she didn't come home, that's when it hit ... And then we just started checking hospitals," said Engebretsen.

Late Thursday officials confirmed the Engebretsen families deepest fears. Sherri, a mom and wife, is never coming home.

It is a somber reminder that the mangled iron, massive concrete, and battered cars that litter this scene, are in no way the true measure of what happened here.

"These are horrible images, but within each of these images is a story. That car you see hanging in the wreckage is someone's cousin or brother or husband, and one story after the other unfolds," said R.T. Ryback, the Mayor of Minneapolis.

A tragic story, like few others in our nation's history, that will continue to unfold for a very long time.

The recovery work here could take a week, maybe longer. The NTSB investigation into how and why this tragedy happened could take a full year.

President Bush will tour the disaster site on Saturday, while First Lady Laura Bush will tour it today.