Fraters has an eyewitness account from “Sisyphus”, the normally-hilarious wag from MOB blog Nihilist in Golf Pants, who saw the entire collapse from river level, on an excursion boat just upstream from the bridge, at the Saint Anthony lock.
Go to Fraters to read the whole thing – to my knowledge, so far the best eyewitness account of the collapse anywhere.
I remember seeing the bridge buckle, and a white vehicle fall into the water. Then, the span of the bridge on the east bank side crumpled up like an accordion and the entire bridge fell towards the river. It was over before my brain could comprehend what I had seen – you just don’t expect to see a bridge collapse right before your eyes with no warning. And not being accustomed to looking at the city from on the river, I didn’t immediately realize that the bridge I had just seen fall into the Mississippi was the I-35W Bridge.The minutes after the collapse were eerily quiet. As we stared in disbelief at the wreckage, it began to sink in that we had just witnessed a major catastrophe. The east bank side of the bridge was bent like an accordion and there was a blue SUV or mini-van and two other vehicles on the downward slant toward the river. It seemed odd that the only evidence of a disaster, as of yet, was the fallen bridge itself – no sirens, no helicopters overhead, no flashing lights. Of course, it was far too early for any of that, but it did add to the surrealism of the moment.
One of the things you learn in concealed carry training is the tricks your mind can play on you at times of extreme stress. Sisyphus’ account is a great case study:
Time seemed to crawl by, everyone onboard was shaken and we began discussing what we had seen amongst ourselves. Each of us who had been looking at the bridge while it collapsed, remembered seeing one and only one car falling – and each of us remembered a different car. Another oddity is that none of us remember hearing any noise from the collapse at all.
Read the whole thing.