The I-35W Interstate highway bridge in downtown Minneapolis plummeted over 60 feet into the Mississippi River, killing at least 7. Nearly thirty people remained missing as the search continued into the next day for cars that fell from the bridge into the river.
The bridge was full to capacity of rush hour traffic when the accident occurred, which may have caused it to break up into sections before falling into the river. Drivers were then immediately thrown down onto the underlying truss structure.
Minneapolis Police were estimating the catastrophe as a structural collapse above all. The bridge had been under construction during rush hour with bumper-to-bumper traffic before the accident occurred. Search/recovery operations continued up until 1am Thursday morning, whereupon searchers determined to call off further recovery activities until the next morning.
Authorities are certain to discover dozens of cars in the water and possibly more fatalities during salvage operations Thursday and Friday. The reasons rescuers called off all searches Wednesday night was due to the inherent danger of working around the fallen bridge structure in the dark.
Dr. Joseph Clinton, Chief of Emergency Medicine, stated that the trauma center had seen so far 30 patients, six of whom were critical. There had been at least one drowning victim thus far, but authorities expect to find far more in the detritus around the fallen bridge.
For more information on this subject, please refer to our section on Car and Motorcycle Accidents.