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Last Updated: Saturday, 4 August 2007, 21:25 GMT 22:25 UK
Bush visits collapsed bridge site
Presidential helicopter Marine One flies over collapse site
The bridge was an important link over the Mississippi river

US President George W Bush has visited the site of a motorway bridge over the Mississippi river which collapsed on Wednesday.

Mr Bush praised the "determination and compassion" of those involved in the tragedy, and vowed to rebuild the bridge as soon as possible.

The US Congress has voted to allocate $250m (122m) to help rebuild the Minnesota bridge.

At least five people died during the collapse, and eight are still missing.

About 50 vehicles were thrown into the water when large sections of the I-35W bridge in Minneapolis gave way without warning.

Searches for the remaining victims continued, but were hampered by strong currents and difficult weather conditions.

Meanwhile families of the missing gathered at a Red Cross centre to share photos and stories about their loved ones, the Associated Press news agency said.

'Decent and resilient'

Mr Bush was given a 10-minute helicopter tour, circling the site of the collapse several times.

Our message is - we want to get this bridge built as soon as possible
George W Bush

He then viewed the damage on foot. Among others, he met a man who had rushed to save a group of children trapped in a school bus.

"I have met with the chief of police, and the sheriff, rescue workers, people who represent men and women who are working as hard as they possibly can to save life and to find life, to go under these murky waters to find the facts. And it's going to take a while," Mr Bush said.

"I've been impressed not only by their determination but I have been impressed by their compassion."

Mr Bush said officials would do all they could to remove bureaucratic barriers to rebuilding.

"Our message is - we want to get this bridge built as soon as possible."





SEE ALSO
Congress to fund rebuilt bridge
04 Aug 07 |  Americas
In pictures: Minneapolis bridge
02 Aug 07 |  In Pictures
'Then the bridge started falling'
02 Aug 07 |  Americas
Minnesota bridge collapse: Your accounts
02 Aug 07 |  Have Your Say
Shock as Mississippi bridge falls
02 Aug 07 |  Americas

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