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New overflow diary is here - might be better for dialup users:

(thanks everyone for updating the story and providing such valuable info with your comments)

Breaking news on MSNBC right now, they say an interstate bridge in Minneapolis over the Mississippi has fallen into the river, sending both cars and pedestrians into the water.

From the video they are showing on TV, this bridge looks to be over 100 feet high. (Update: correction from Lashe below in the comments - 50 to 65 feet above the water)

Awful, I hope maybe some of the families in those cars miraculously survived.

There are emergency crews on the scene right now, and they are saying it happened at about 6:30pm local time.

These people should be in our thoughts right now.

UPDATE: One caller to the news says this collapse happened closer to 6pm, when the bridge was full of traffic. He mentioned a school bus full of children (good God). Also he is reporting construction was going on in the vicinity, whether related to the bridge is not known. No estimates yet of the number dead or injured.

UPDATE 2: MSNBC is routing King News live, they are saying it was an Interstate 35W bridge over the Mississippi River.

Every available ambulance in the Minneapolis area has been requested.

UPDATE 3: From TooLittleSleep:

MSNBC is reporting that while some of the kids were injured, they have carried all the kids out of danger.

Thank goodness for that, at least.

(irrelevant update) - I can't believe this made the rec list - I wish my first trip here had been the result of something more uplifting. Thanks to everyone for getting the word out in this way.

UPDATE 5: Thanks for this data on the bridge posted below by Magnifico:

From John Week's I-35W Mississippi River Crossing:

• Location: River Mile 853.20.
• River Elevation: 725 Feet.
• Highway: I-35W.
• Daily Traffic Count: 140,000 (2002).
• Bridge Type: Steel Arch Deck Truss Bridge.
• Length: 1,907 Feet, 458 Foot Longest Span.
• Width: 8 Traffic Lanes, 108 Feet.
• Navigation Channel Width: 390 Feet.
• Height Above Water: 64 Feet.
• Date Built: Opened November 1967

UPDATE 6 (8:14pm CDT): Hennipen County Medical Center press conference going on right now - major points:

  • 6 children critically injured
  • 1 person confirmed dead (drowning, DOA at the hospital), not releasing info upon notification of next of kin
  • Doctor giving the briefing (Dr. Joseph Clinton) thinks there will be more drowning victims
  • Communications with rescuers at the scene is a problem
  • Just switched to CNN, their graphic says 3 confirmed dead
  • Outstanding response from the medical staff at the hospital

Sounds too good to be true that this could be the extent of the injuries and dead. I will be thrilled if so, but I am wondering if many more are yet to be discovered.

UPDATE 7 (9:10pm CDT):

Press conference with Gov. Tim Pawlenty, Mayor R.T. Ryback and Minneapolis Chief of Police Timothy Dolan:

  • 6 dead
  • responders have searched 50 cars
  • all survivors have been removed from the bridge

asking for help from public:

  • only use cellphones in emergency
  • those leaving the Twins game will be moving along a predetermined route thru downtown

Mayor: according to MNDOT, in 2005 and 2006 no prior "structural deficits or deficiencies noted in the bridge"

Final Update:Since Keith Olbermann just said that there would be no more official briefings from the Hennepin County Medical Center tonight, I am going to call it a night, and go for a moonlight walk on the beach, thanking my lucky stars that I can (I'm in Nova Scotia). 7 confirmed dead. Amazing if it holds there.

Originally posted to Swampfoot on Wed Aug 01, 2007 at 04:45 PM PDT.

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