Breaking: Horrific bridge collapse in Minneapolis; Update: Steel failure? Update: Seven dead?

I’ve got nothing yet but photos, but there’s not much more to add. Estimates are 20-30 injured, eight cars and possibly one truck in the water. Standby for updates.




Update: It happened a little after six, in the heart of rush hour. The Strib:

Ramon Houge of St. Paul, was on his way home from work at Wells Fargo and was driving on the bridge when heard a rumbling noise, saw the ground collapse and cars go down. He said cars backed up as best they could and he parked in a construction zone and was finally able to turn around and drive off the bridge. “It didn’t seem like it was real,” he said. Traffic was bumper to bumper and hundreds of people would have been involved, he said, adding that he saw kids on a bus with blood on their faces.

Sarah Fahnhorst, who lives in an apartment a block away from the bridge, heard a huge thud and then “the entire building shook. It shook the ground.”

Update: Two more screencaps.



Update: No word yet on a cause but Dan Riehl points to a story about “concrete rehabilitation” work that was being done on the bridge.

Update: Reader Pete L. send this shot, which he says was taken by a friend passing by on his Blackberry.


Update: Your quote of the day: “I thought it was just construction going on … it was a free fall all the way to the ground.”

Update: Oddly, enough the Times of London has the first report of fatalities. At least two dead.

Update: “According to reports from the scene, crews on the Mississippi River are no longer in rescue mode but recovery mode.” According to NBC, every last ambulance in Minneapolis has been ordered to the scene. NBC also says that work along that stretch of the bridge has been going on all summer.

Update: Three dead, at least, says CNN.

Update: Hmmm:

Bumper to bumper traffic and road construction were slowing things down and all of the sudden the bridge collapsed said a man who was in that traffic around 6:00.

That motorist told Joe Fryer that there was shaking from jack hammer and then the bridge just dropped.

Update: “According to a structural engineer who spoke with WCCO-TV’s Don Shelby, it doesn’t appear to be a concrete failure but that the steel failed.” A former NTSB commissioner is telling Sean Hannity as I write this that he’s surprised the bridge hasn’t been inspected since 2004. WCCO has now updated to say that while work has been going on for the past nine months to repair potholes and concrete, there’s been no work on the structure under the bridge.

Update: The Strib reports that no fewer than 50 cars are estimated as being in the river or on the land below the bridge.

Update: Another photo from Pete L. That used to be a train car.


Update: The Times, by way of CNN, says one of the cops on the scene saw at least seven bodies. Also, interesting:

A 2001 evaluation of the bridge, prepared for the state transportation department by the University of Minnesota Civil Engineering Department, reported that there were preliminary signs of fatigue on the steel truss section under the roadway, but no cracking. It said there was no need for the transportation department to replace the bridge because of fatigue cracking.

Update: WCCO’s got a crack page of rolling updates here. To coin a phrase, just keep scrolling.