Fox News is reporting now. The bridge that collapsed was near the University of Minnesota campus. About six cars are in the water, and approximately 20-30 people are hurt
According to a report from WCCO, a school bus filled with children stopped just short of the collapsed section. Thank God the kids were removed from the bus safely.
According to a witness, it collapsed at rush hour when it was filled with cars. I’m sure officials are going to investigate whether this was terrorism related. That’s a logical question that has to be examined.
Update: Fox News reports that construction caused a backup, so when the bridge collapsed, the cars that were on it were at a standstill.
Update II: From the AP:
The entire span of the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 p.m. where the freeway crosses the river near University Avenue in Minneapolis.
The entire bridge that was over the water collapsed, both the east and west sides.
Update III: According to the Star Tribune, workers were working on the surface of the bridge, not on the bridge’s support system.
Also from the Star Tribune:
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.”
Now a reporter on the scene says that there’s a fear that a fourth section on the east bank of the bridge may collapse.
Update IV: Another fire has started, which could cause and explosion and cause more of the bridge to collapse.
Update V: The Department of Homeland Security said that it is monitoring the situation and that this does not appear to be terrorism related.
Update VI: One fatality. Drudge reports that local media is reporting up to 50 injured and 2 dead.
Update VII: John Hinderaker who lives in Minneapolis writes this:
This is a relatively new highway; I think the bridge is around 30 years old. There is construction underway on Highway 35. One hopes that didn’t contribute to the disaster. This is certainly not an earthquake zone.
This is the kind of disaster that just doesn’t happen in the United States–a bridge spontaneously collapsing, apparently, into a river. It is hard to convey to those who don’t live here the astonishment of this sort of catastrophe happening on our most traveled highway.
Update VIII: Captain Ed, who also lives in Minneapolis, is following the story closely and has this:
KSTP reports that the people on the bridge who were uninjured did not run off the bridge — they went from car to car to look for the injured and give them assistance.