The 35W Bridge Collapse 5 Years Later

Before we moved to the D.C. area we spent a year in Minneapolis, and it happened to be the year of the 35W bridge collapse. Today marks the 5th anniversary of the tragedy and it brings back a lot of personal memories of life in the Twin Cities during that season. David Mathis looks back on the event on the DG blog here.

Every year the anniversary resurfaces haunting memories of the scene, and the silent disbelief of the hundreds of onlookers wandering around speechless trying to see the bridge from various vantage points. It was as if nobody believed that it really happened.

It was under clouded skies a few days later (August 4, 2007) that President Bush flew into the Twin Cities to survey the damage. I, being the journalist, grabbed my camera (a Digital Rebel XT) and “Big Sig,” my Sigma 400mm telephoto lens. From high atop the campus of the University of Minnesota I captured the following photos of the President’s visit. Three helicopters – two smaller and one large one – all landed near the river, downstream about 1/4 mile from the collapsed bridge. The perimeter boundary around the scene was enormous and provide only a few areas where the collapsed bridge was viewable. But I did have a good location high above the valley to photograph the departure of the three presidential helicopters (and the unit of sharpshooters).

On days like today, these memories and these images come flooding back.

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