5:50 PM Let the political machinations begin. Or continue, depending on your perspective.
5:27 PM "This is the hardest thing ever."
Officials estimate at least 50 cars are in the river, some of which are under debris. Officials have lowered the level of the river one foot to assist the recovery effort - a remarkable thing, when you think about it. The death toll has been revised down to four, as you've probably heard, with 79 injured. As many as 30 are still missing. No one's saying what their status might be, but no one has to.
Vidblogging the aftermath here at Minnesota Stories.
We're under a state of "peacetime emergency," a term I've never heard before. This activates the State Emergency Operations Center, part of the Minnesota Emergency Operations Plan. It handles everything from bird flu to a nuclear-reactor emergency. If the last 24 hours are any indication, the state's emergency response system seems robust and efficient; the usual tales of chaotic confusion haven't been heard.
ABC news anchor Charles Gibson reports from the air. Sidenote: let's put the 9/11 analogies to rest.
12:00 PMI’ll be away for a few hours; more later this afternoon. Not that there’s much to be said at this moment , since we’re waiting for the grim news that will follow the recovery efforts. I heard a KSTP reporter speak on the Bob Davis show this morning - he told a story about a first responder finding someone trapped in the wreckage, dying. The rescuer handed the victim a cellphone to say goodbye to loved ones.
The second day is no easier than the first. It’s often worse.
First-hand account of the collapse, from a blogger who happened to be on a river cruise on the Mississippi.
Things we may have learned:
1. There’s nothing onto which people cannot project the narrowest, most reductive political agenda. Could be the internet; could be human nature. Perhaps in 1604 AD the sight of an ox cart upside down in the ditch inevitably led to an argument about the king. We’ll have the answers in the end, and we’ll know what could have been done. But sometimes Things Fall Down, and it’s a simple, and horrible, as that.
2. As much as I love the new media, you have to admit that the old mainstream media comes in handy in times like this. One guy with a website and a camcorder can provide perspective and unfiltered reaction, but there’s something to be said for organizations that have not only reporters and cameras, but helicopters.
Update: Popular Mechanics on the bridge collapse and American infrastructure. (via many; thanks.)
Update: detour routes announced here; 280 has been promoted to an actual freeway for the duration, and let’s hope they bump up the speed limit on 35E as well.
MPR also has a map on local road closures and detours here. The 10th Avenue bridge is closed, which would seem to add insult to injury.
Update: CNN has the video of the bridge collapsing. Video of morning news conferences here, including Governor Pawlenty discussing the bridge’s last inspection report. President Bush expected to speak on the matter around 10 AM.
Post your thoughts, observations, speculations about the disaster. This is the day when the recriminations begin, as well as the inevitable politicization of the tragedy, so we might as well get started.