Update on the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

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Update on the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

Update on the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse
By: Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. - Rescuers are giving little information about the two bodies discovered in the wreckage of a Minneapolis bridge. The death toll now stands at seven killed. At least six people are still believed to be missing in the murk.

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Navy divers have been laying the groundwork for their search of the Mississippi River to find bodies that are believed hidden in the debris and murky water.

The divers have been studying the debris from the highway collapse, which killed at least five people and left at least eight others missing.

A Navy official says the divers and command team are there to provide greater experience and more sophisticated technology than local emergency dive squads.

FBI dive teams have also arrived, with equipment that includes a small submarine equipped with a robotic arm.

On land, workers have been moving heavy construction equipment into position to eventually hoist away the tons of concrete and steel bridge wreckage.

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Six days after a Minneapolis bridge collapsed, the job of pulling tons of broken concrete, cars and twisted metal from the Mississippi is moving ahead.

Divers are gearing up to head back into the water to search for the 8 people who remain missing. A Navy dive team has arrived to help, and an FBI team is on its way.

Clearing the bridge wreckage will help with the recovery operation and open a channel wide enough for barge and boat traffic.

The clean up is expected to cost as much as $15 million.

In the meantime, it appears commuters are finding ways into the downtown area despite the loss of a major freeway.

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Families of people missing after the Minneapolis bridge collapse have seen the wreckage up close.

The Red Cross says a brief visit Satudaynight allowed relatives to see the challenges searchers are facing amid the ruins of the fallen 8-lane bridge.

Eight people are unaccounted for after Wednesday's disaster. Five are known dead.

Authorities say they number of missing could still rise because it's possible some victims haven't been reported missing yet.

Divers spent a third day in the murky Mississippi River Saturday, pulling up a crushed car but finding no bodies inside. Work resumes today if the weather holds.

An interfaith memorial service was planned for Sunday night.

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MINNEAPOLIS, Mn. - Divers are set to resume a search of the debris from a deadly interstate bridge collapse Saturday morning.

The number of dead from Wednesday's rush hour disaster stands at 5. Officials says as few as 8 people remain missing, down from an earlier estimate of 30. Twenty-eight people remain hospitalized, 5 in critical condition.

The swirling, murky Mississippi waters along with the jagged metal and concrete debris from the bridge has made the search treacherous. Weather could add to the difficulty today with occassional showers and thunderstorms in the forecast.

Authorities say the bridge's design and a rush-hour traffic jam may have helped save lives during the collapse. The slow-moving vehicles apparently had little momentum for a slide into the river.

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Congress is poised to pay to replace the bridge that collapsed Wednesday in Minneapolis.

In a unanimous vote, the House has directed $250 million to rebuild the span. A similar bill is ready for a vote in the Senate.

Minnesota Congressman Keith Ellison, who represents Minneapolis, praised the bipartisan response, saying there are no Democrats or Republicans "when tragedy strikes America."

Alaska Republican Don Young said he had sought $375 billion in the last 6-year transportation bill. But Young says Congress had to settle for about 90 billion because of opposition from the Bush administration. Young says the answer is a tax to fix bridges.

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Federal safety officials hope they've found a significant clue that may lead them to the cause of Wednesday's bridge collapse in Minneapolis.

They're interested in learning why a part of the bridge's southern span shifted as it collapsed. That was the only part of the bridge that shifted.

Meanwhile, officials say the number of missing could be as few as eight, rather than the 30 or so feared earlier. But they also caution the number could change again as underwater searches continue.

Fire Chief Jim Clack tells The Associated Press "it was something of a miracle" there weren't more killed or seriously injured.

The death toll now stands at five. Of about 100 injured at least five are in critical condition.

Firefighters pulled the fifth victim, the driver of a tractor-trailer that was engulfed in flames in the collapse, from the wreckage late Thursday.

Divers have been braving the swirling currents in the murky Mississippi River waters as they search for the remaining victims.  Divers are working in pairs to search the unsteady rubble for eight missing people.

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First lady Laura Bush has arrived in Minneapolis to visit the scene of Wednesday's highway bridge collapse. She also plans to speak with family members of the victims. Some are still awaiting word on the fate of their loved ones.

Relatives of people missing after the Minneapolis bridge collapse gathered in a hotel ballroom Thursday, waiting for word. One man said he hopes there's a "Jane Doe in a hospital somewhere" who turns out to be his wife. She hasn't been heard from since she left work Wednesday in downtown Minneapolis.

The Interstate 35-West bridge over the Mississippi River was jammed with bumper-to-bumper rush-hour traffic when it suddenly broke into huge sections. Dozens of vehicles fell 60 feet into the water.

At least one burning truck and a school bus had been clinging to a slanted slab of the span. Parents of some of the children aboard the bus say all were able to escape.

Tons of concrete and twisted metal also crashed into the water when the bridge broke into several huge sections.

The eight-lane bridge, a major Minneapolis artery, was in the midst of being repaired and had several lanes closed when it crumbled.

So far, officials don't suspect anything other than structural failure.

An official with the Department of Homeland Security says there's nothing to link the collapse to terrorism.

The 40-year-old bridge stretches between Minneapolis and St. Paul.

The arched structure was built in 1967 and rises about 64 feet above the river.

The National Transportation Safety Board says the first step in the federal investigation into the Minneapolis bridge collapse will be to recover the pieces and reassemble them. The group's chairman says putting the bridge back together will help investigators figure out what went wrong.

Minnesota's governor has ordered an immediate inspection of all bridges in the state with similar designs to the bridge that collapsed in Minneapolis.

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Heartland News aired a story about delayed bridge repairs in Missouri in July.

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