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Last Updated: Tuesday, 7 August 2007, 22:01 GMT 23:01 UK
Navy divers join US bridge effort
FBI investigator works at the scene of the I-35W bridge collapse
The FBI will use an unmanned submarine to find evidence
Teams of US Navy and FBI divers have joined the search for victims of last week's bridge collapse in Minneapolis, stepping up recovery efforts.

The Navy divers will use sonar to scan for bodies, while the FBI team will carry out forensic investigations.

Minneapolis officials have called for a minute's silence on Tuesday evening to mark the moment the bridge fell.

Five people have been confirmed dead and eight missing in the disaster, but officials say those figures may rise.

About 100 people were injured when the eight-lane I-35W highway bridge collapsed into the Mississippi river at evening rush hour on 1 August.

'World's best divers'

The Navy divers entered the murky waters before dawn on Tuesday to survey the search site and returned later in the morning to clear debris from the site.

The Navy team - 16 divers and a five-member crew - are using above-ground oxygen tanks so they can spend longer underwater. They will also use heavy-duty equipment to cut through steel wreckage.

I-35W BRIDGE 9340
Collapsed bridge - 03/08/2007
Eight-lane, steel-arch bridge
Built in 1967
Used by 140,000 cars a day

Minneapolis Police Captain Mike Martin told Associated Press news agency the Navy team were "the best divers in the world".

"Two in the morning, they dove into the water," he said.

Divers from the FBI's Underwater Search Evidence Response Team (USERT) will use an unmanned submarine with a robotic arm to look for any evidence that may help with the investigation.

Minneapolis city officials called for a minute's silence at 1805 (2305 GMT) in memory of the bridge collapse victims.

After the silence, bells were to toll at churches, Minneapolis City Hall and the city's court house.

On Monday, the US National Transportation Safety Board said the investigation into the causes of the bridge collapse may take as long as 18 months.

State officials have said they hope to have the bridge rebuilt by the end of 2008.





SEE ALSO
Bush visits collapsed bridge site
04 Aug 07 |  Americas
Congress to fund rebuilt bridge
04 Aug 07 |  Americas
Minnesota bridge collapse: Your accounts
02 Aug 07 |  Have Your Say

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