The morning after the bridge collapse in Minneapolis, authorities await sunrise to continue their efforts to search the wreckage for any unaccounted victims. By this time, most expect this to be a recovery rather than a rescue effort, and the death toll has risen to nine, and twenty people are known to be missing:
Nine people were confirmed dead as of 4 a.m. today. Sixty were taken to hospitals and 20 people were still missing this morning. Authorities said they expected the death toll to rise.
Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek told the Associated Press at about 1 a.m. today that all search efforts had been called off for the night and that searchers did not expect to find any survivors.
"It's dark, it's not safe with the currents in the water and the concrete and rebar," he said. "At this point it is a recovery effort."
The "missing" figure may underestimate the people left to be found in this collapse. Bridge collapses differ from some other catastrophes in that no manifest exists. The missing only get identified by people expecting to hear from family or friends. It means we will not know the extent of the human tragedy until later, perhaps days from now. It's more like a tornado in that sense.
Minneapolis-area residents face a more mundane issue as well: how do they get to work today? The 35W freeway is the major artery going through the center of Minneapolis. There are ways around it but nothing that has the same capacity. It will take years to replace this bridge, especially given the investigation that will have to take place to determine why it collapsed after only 40 years of service.
And yet, knowing this town like I do, I know that few people will complain about any of it. No one has any thoughts for anything but the victims right now. No matter what inconveniences lay ahead, every single one of us who have driven on that bridge will know we could have been on it when it went down. A detour or two, even for the long time they will be necessary, will pale in comparison to the losses of our friends and neighbors.