At 6:05 PM CST, a span of the 35W bridge in Minneapolis collapsed into the Mississippi River, sending dozens of vehicles plunging into the river.

Initial estimates report that between 50 and 100 cars were present on the bridge at time of collapse, however there has been speculation that construction had caused lanes of the 8-lane bridge to be closed, therefore reducing the amount of vehicles present on the bridge. Parts of the bridge have undergone resurfacing work, but nothing was done by construction crews that could have compromised the structure’s integrity.

At least three people have been confirmed dead as of 10:00 PM EST, however unofficial reports from the scene have reported as many as seven casualties. “One of our hospitals has five patients so far, and the other on the other side of the river has none”, says Ryan Davenport, of the Minnesota Medical Center. Dr. Joseph Clinton of the Hennepin County Medical Center reported that 6 patients are in critical condition, our of at least 28 injured patients. Many more injuries are expected as more victims are pulled from the wreckage; images from KARE-TV revealed at least 6 ambulances standing idle at the scene of the collapse, awaiting patients.

“I don’t know how much more could go bad here, but right now, we’ve got the perfect storm brewing out there, so we’re trying to work as hard as we can to pull people out of there” Kristi Rollwagen told CNN. Present on the scene are divers, rescue boats, police, fire, and rescue workers from Minneapolis, as well as other neighboring jurisdictions. Rescue workers are hurrying to find survivors, although rescue efforts may be hampered by nightfall and storms that were in the vicinity.  Rollwagen also reported that the Army Corps of Engineers is present on the scene and is assessing the damage; all sections of the bridge that have not yet submerged have been searched for survivors except for one section that is too dangerous for rescue workers.
Officials ask citizens in Minneapolis to refrain from cell phone use so that lines can be kept free for emergency personnel. In addition, there is a need for blood donations. Officials were very adamant about requesting that non-emergency personnel avoid the scene of the collapse.
The cause of the collapse has yet to be determined, although terrorism is not suspected by the Department of Homeland Security.

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Danny blogs at the-madness.net

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