US bridge collapse toll 'to rise'

Officials search for up to 30 people missing after their vehicles fall into river.

    The bridge had been undergoing repair work
    at the time of the collapse [AFP]
    Tim Dolan, Minneapolis police chief, said that based on the number of vehicles thought to be on the Interstate 35W bridge at the time, there were 20 to 30 people unaccounted for, and more bodies were likely to be recovered.

    "There are cars in the water. A dozen cars are visible. We don't know what's underneath. We haven't removed anything from the river. We're treating it like a crime scene," a police official said.

    Repair work

    The bridge was undergoing repair work when it broke into several huge sections sending vehicles, concrete and twisted metal crashing into the river.
       
    Several workers who had been doing resurfacing work that closed some of the span's eight lanes were among those who plunged into the river when the bridge fell about five stories.

    Pawlenty said work "relating to concrete repair and rehabilitation and replacement, guard rail replacement, righting replacement and work on the joints," had been taking place.

    The 40-year-old steel arch bridge was last inspected in 2006 and no structural problems were found, Pawlenty said.
      
    A 2001 report by the state transport department concluded that the bridge "should not have any problems with fatigue cracking in the foreseeable future" and recommended not to replace the bridge "prematurely".
      
    But it also pointed to problems with corrosion in the bridge's steel beams, "poor welding," and said it was designed under 1961 regulations that have since been rewritten with stricter rules.

    RT Rybak, Minneapolis's mayor, said it was too early to pinpoint a cause for the collapse.

    A spokesman for the US department of homeland security said there were "no indications of a nexus to terrorism at this time".

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    'Just another Indian': Surviving Canada's residential schools

    'Just another Indian': Surviving Canada's residential schools

    A survivor of schools that took Indigenous children from their families shares her story of abuse, neglect and healing.

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    'Butchered': The Kenyan FGM clinic serving Europeans

    Kenya banned FGM in 2011, but Europeans still bring their daughters to underground clinics there to be cut.

    What it means to love a dead child

    What it means to love a dead child

    You must forget all you thought you knew about grief when the landscape of your life has been demolished.