Collapsed Bridge Recovery Search Continues

By: Yunji De Nies, ABC News
By: Yunji De Nies, ABC News

In Minneapolis, the painstaking work of search and recovery continued for a another day .

Local divers there have asked for help from both FBI and Navy dive teams as they continue to fight the debris, submerged vehicles and the brisk Mississippi River current under the remains of the I-35W Bridge.
Recovery teams have spent days searching for the bodies of at least eight people missing in the murky waters of the Mississippi.

They haven't located any bodies since Aug. 2. The problem? Pieces of the bridge itself are in the way.

"We believe there's a good possibility that there are additional vehicles under the tons and tons of debris that's now spanning across the river," said Rich Stanek, Hennipin County Sheriff.

Crews will soon start removing that debris. Investigators will then inspect it, to determine why the bridge fell apart.

"There was a perfect storm of some failures clearly," said James Kakalios, University of Minnesota Physics Professor.

He said the collapse may have been caused by a number of small failures all once- the impact of workers on the bridge, heavy vehicles, metal fatigue, or it even may be as simple as one key joint snapping.

The answer is under water.

"How they'll get that out of the Mississippi and be able to do the forensics on it will be very challenging," Kakalios explained.

The people of the twin cities face another challenge, as they cope with the deaths of five people.

Funeral services for 36-year old Patrick Holmes were held Aug. 6. He leaves behind a wife, and two young children.

There will be services Aug. 7 for two of the other victims. At the site itself, it's been very busy with FBI and NTSB investigators surveying the city both on the ground and from the air.

Meanwhile, Governor Ernie Fletcher has ordered re-examination of 38-bridges in Kentucky that have been rated structurally deficient.

The order was issued to the Ky. Transportation Cabinet and includes highway overpasses and approach ramps, and spans across waterways that are at least 500-ft. long.


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