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Last Updated: Thursday, 2 August 2007, 04:59 GMT 05:59 UK
Shock as Mississippi bridge falls
Wreckage in Mississippi river from bridge collapse
The collapse left cars in the river
Eyewitnesses have described the scenes of chaos at the rush hour collapse of a bridge into the Mississippi river.

Seven people died after an entire span of the I-35W motorway bridge in the city of Minneapolis plunged into the river on Wednesday evening.

A local journalist told the BBC how cars tumbled into the river after the bridge "just snapped right in half".

Andy Schwich, 29, told Reuters: "I saw them carrying up a body - I don't know if he was alive or dead."

Melissa Hughes, 32, whose car was on the bridge, told the Associated Press news agency: "You know that free fall feeling? I felt that twice."

Another motorist, Jamie Winegar, told the agency she heard "boom, boom, boom and we were just dropping, dropping, dropping".

We noticed the whole thing, almost like a domino effect, slow motion, falling
Eyewitness Massoud Amin

Twelve-year-old Nina Jenkins, one of 60 children rescued from a school bus that nearly fell into the river, told CNN: "It was terrifying."

Ramon Houge told the St Paul Pioneer Press newspaper: "It didn't seem like it was real."

Local reporter Marissa Helm said the structure "basically just snapped right in half".

"Many of the cars rolled into the Mississippi river," she told the BBC. "It was sort of like a thump when it fell."

Professor Massoud Amin, from the University of Minnesota, said it was like a "mild earthquake" as the bridge collapsed.

He told the BBC: "We noticed the whole thing, almost like a domino effect, slow motion, falling."

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