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FBI, Navy Divers Continue Search for Victims of Minnesota Bridge Disaster


Officials in the northern U.S. city of Minneapolis say workers pulled three bodies from the Mississippi River Thursday as they searched the wreckage of a highway bridge that collapsed on August 1.

The Hennepin county medical examiner said the remains originally thought to be of two people were actually those of three - a 47-year-old man, a two-year-old girl, and a still-unidentified body.

The discovery brings the death toll to eight. The medical examiner told reporters Thursday that officials are collecting dental records and other information from the families of people still listed as missing, to help identify remains that have deteriorated after more than a week in the water.

Divers from the U.S. Navy and Federal Bureau of Investigation have been helping local divers search for victims of the collapse, which happened while the bridge was packed with rush-hour traffic, sending cars and trucks hurtling 20 meters to the Mississippi River below.

Wednesday, investigators found flaws in steel plates that held the bridge's girders together - a condition that might have contributed to the collapse.

President Bush has pledged the federal government's full support in rebuilding the bridge, a key transportation route through the state of Minnesota's "Twin Cities" of Minneapolis and St. Paul.

Authorities in Minnesota had been warned as early as 1990 that the bridge was in need of major repair or even replacement. Federal inspectors gave the same forecast in 2005, but state engineers say the span was not slated for replacement until 2020.

Some information for this report was provided by AP.

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