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Workers Continue Grim Task of Recovery from Bridge Collapse

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) -- Workers resume their grim task this morning in the ruins of the Minneapolis bridge collapse.  The police chief says a number of vehicles are underneath slabs of concrete and there are people in them.  Bodies have been spotted in the fast-moving currents of the Mississippi River, where divers will go back in.

The official death count is four but as many as 30 people are still unaccounted for, including a pregnant Somali nursing student and her two year-old daughter.  All were on or near the Interstate 35W bridge when it collapsed into the Mississippi River on Wednesday, sending six lanes of traffic into the water.

The Interstate 35W bridge was first labeled "structurally deficient" in 1990 but officials say that doesn't mean it wasn't safe.

National Transportation Safety Board chairman Mark Rosenker says his investigators got some big breaks yesterday with a surveillance video showing the collapse and a computer program that will analyze how the bridge failed.

President Bush says the federal government must respond "robustly" to help the people affected by the bridge collapse in Minneapolis.  The administration is sending $5 million right away and the president is promising more money will follow to help rebuild the bridge he calls a transportation lifeline.  The House Transportation Committee already has approved $250 million.

First lady Laura Bush tours the disaster site today and meets with victims and families.  She will be in Minneapolis on a previously scheduled school tour.

Tomorrow, the president will get his own look at the site of the collapse.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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