Car pulled from water at bridge collapse |

Car pulled from water at bridge collapse

MINNEAPOLIS ” Search crews pulled a crushed car out of the murky water Saturday at the site of a deadly bridge collapse, and authorities said it was the only car they had found in which the passengers were unaccounted for.

It wasn’t immediately certain whether the vehicle, which was pulled out for closer inspection, contained any bodies, said Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek.

Families of the missing continued to wait for word that any bodies had been found in the Mississippi River. The number of dead stands at five, and at least eight victims are believed trapped in the wreckage.

Under police escort, families of the missing were bused late Saturday afternoon from a Red Cross center to the disaster site. When the doors opened, about 40 people streamed out and went straight to the edge, a few with arms wrapped around each other’s shoulders.

Most stood silently, not appearing to talk, while a few pointed at the collapsed bridge. After no more than 10 minutes, they reboarded the buses, some hugging as they left. The police then escorted them back to the Red Cross center.

Meanwhile, federal investigators trying to determine where the collapse began said that after closer examination, they had decided to shift their focus away from the south end of the bridge. That section shifted 81 feet during the collapse, but investigators now say they found no indications that was where the failure began.

Also, state transportation officials set an ambitious timetable for rebuilding the bridge, announcing Saturday they hoped to award a contract in September and have the project completed by the end of 2008 ” about 15 months.

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