First Responders Honored on 10 Year Anniversary of I-35W Bridge Collapse

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The aftermath of the I-35W bridge collapse.

MINNEAPOLIS – Ten years ago Tuesday a large section of the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis collapsed, killing 13 people and injuring many more.

August 1, 2007 saw the generally slow rush hour traffic interrupted in horrific fashion at 6:05 p.m., as the bridge suddenly gave way. The bridge, along with 111 vehicles and their passengers, and 18 construction workers, plummeted as much as 115 feet down to the river itself or its banks.

A security company at a nearby company caught some images of the bridge as it was collapsing.

In addition to the 13 deaths, many people were injured, with 11 area hospitals treating 98 victims for injuries in the 40 hours immediately after the collapse. A total of 145 people were injured in some way in the collapse. Some of the victims were transported in trucks and other vehicles as there were not enough ambulances readily available to deal with the scope of the tragedy.

The aftermath of the collapse can be seen on footage from a Minnesota Department of Transportation camera overlooking I-35W. The rush hour traffic comes to a complete stand still, and a car can be seen driving the opposite direction. The camera then pans to the right, where a gaping hole remains where the bridge once stood. Cars begin to turn around and drive away from the wreck, though some people get out of their cars either to help or to leave the scene on foot instead.

On Tuesday, state and local officials honored the first responders who rushed to the scene to tend to the wounded and dead.

“In one of the worst days in our city, our first responders were the best in our city,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said, reports the Star Tribune. “We asked much of them on Aug. 1, 2007 — to run into danger and do whatever they could to save people — and they did,” she said. “We ask much of them every day, still — to enter into the unknown with professionalism and presence, to be there for people when they are having some of the worst moments of their lives, and they do.”

Hodges spoke at a ceremony dedicating a piece of the I-35W bridge as a monument to those injured and killed by the collapse, as well as a testament to the hard work of the first responders, reports the Star Tribune. The monument is outside the Minneapolis Emergency Operations Training Facility.

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