Rain delays bridge collapse recovery

Sunday, August 12, 2007
A car, trapped on the freeway when the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed, is lowered by crane from the bridge collapse site in Minneapolis, Minn., Friday, Aug. 10, 2007.(AP Photo/Nati Harnik)

Divers looking for five people still missing since the collapse of the Interstate 35W bridge in Minnesota were hampered Saturday because heavy rain had strengthened the current in the Mississippi River.

Overnight thunderstorms dropped as much as 2 inches of rain on the region, making the river dangerous for divers around the bridge wreckage, a Navy spokesman said. They were back in the water by 11 a.m., but coordinators pulled them out around 8 p.m. when rain, thunder and lightning returned to the area.

"If they feel they're not safe anymore or conditions change, they'll stop again," said Randy Mitchell, an Army spokesman working with the Navy team.

The delay came after a two-day period in which the military divers recovered three bodies. That brought the confirmed death toll to eight, and reduced the list of missing to five.

Family and friends gathered Saturday for a double funeral for a mother and daughter killed in the collapse. The bodies of Sadiya Sahal, 23, and 22-month-old Hana, of St. Paul, Minn., were among the three recovered Thursday and Friday.

Sadiya Sahal, who was five months pregnant, had her daughter in the back seat of her car as they sat in the bumper-to-bumper traffic on the bridge. She had been on the way to pick up a friend who needed a ride to work.

Sahal was a nursing student who emigrated to Minneapolis from Somalia in 2000, and graduated from the city's Washburn High School. She became a U.S. citizen last year.

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