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Discoveries may bring the death toll to eight.
Published Aug. 10, 2007

Divers found two more bodies and possibly the remains of a third victim in the wreckage of the collapsed Mississippi River bridge Thursday, which would bring the disaster's confirmed death toll to eight, more than a week after the span crumbled.

Navy divers had recovered human remains at first believed to be those of two bodies. Later, Hennepin County Chief Medical Examiner Andrew Baker said what was thought to be one set of remains is now believed to be from more than one person.

Crews have been searching for at least eight people missing and presumed killed in the Aug. 1 collapse, including a mother and her young daughter and another woman and her adult son.

One of the bodies recovered Thursday was identified as Peter Joseph Hausmann, 47, of suburban Rosemount. Authorities believe they know the identities of the other two people, but they were not immediately identified.

"Right now the first priority is notifying the families," said Dave Hayhoe, the police homicide unit commander.

As searchers combed the river for victims, federal officials looking into the cause of the collapse issued an advisory for states to inspect the metal plates that hold girders together on bridges nationwide.

Investigators said the plates, or gussets, on the failed Minneapolis bridge were originally attached with rivets, old technology that's more likely to slip than the bolts used in bridges today.

Investigators are also looking at whether extra weight from construction work could have affected the bridge.

Recovery crews have removed several vehicles from the river in the last two days. In all, 88 vehicles have been located, both in the river and amid the broken concrete wreckage of the bridge.

Fast facts

Quake rattles L.A.; bridge closed

A magnitude-4.6 earthquake rattled the Los Angeles area early Thursday, shaking many people out of bed and causing the temporary closure of a bridge after chunks of concrete came loose from the span. The quake, which hit at 12:58 a.m., caused no major damage.

The bridge, known as the Whites Canyon Road Bridge, in Santa Clarita, was closed about 2:30 a.m. after a sheriff's deputy noticed the loose concrete during a routine post-earthquake inspection. The bridge reopened at noon after engineers concluded that the damage was cosmetic, said Gail Ortiz, a spokeswoman for the city of Santa Clarita.