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Recovery Efforts, Investigation Continue at Bridge Collapse; Those with Bridge Phobias Impacted by Tragedy; Mothers Ceasing to Breastfeed Too Soon

Aired August 3, 2007 - 13:00   ET


KYRA PHILLIPS, CO-HOST (voice-over): So many bridges, so many cracks and strains and cars and years, and so little upkeep. Tens of thousands of America's bridges are rated deficient. What will it take to make sure the Twin Cities tragedy is one of a kind?

The scope of this disaster could have been so much greater if it weren't for the heroes. Ordinary people did extraordinary things with their own lives hanging in the balance.

Still, families are trapped in an agonizing wait. The river's down but filled with dangers for recovery divers.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN world headquarters in Atlanta.

DON LEMON, CO-HOST: And I'm Don Lemon, live on the scene in Minneapolis.

PHILLIPS: Slow progress in the waters beneath the remains of the I-35 West bridge in Minneapolis. The recovery operation continues as investigators try to piece together what really happened. Don is going to be there throughout the day.

What stories are you following?

LEMON: We're following, of course, the family members and the tragedy here. We're following one more person found, Kyra, in the rubble here, not found in the water.

Sadly, investigators said that they saw that person, just weren't able to get to them faster. Not that that person was alive but just to get that body out of the car.

They were concerned about a possible more structural failure because of the way the car -- the truck that this person was in had fallen and also, that truck had been on fire. So they were a little bit concerned about the safety of the rescuers. So we're hearing that.

We're also hearing that more injuries are coming in to medical centers here. At first they thought it was just 79 people who had been injured here. Those numbers are going up at least by 20 from yesterday and also today, and it could go higher.

We're told that people are working on adrenaline. They've been walking around on adrenaline. Call it the walking wounded, if you will, not knowing that they were injured. All of a sudden, they wake up after a night's sleep and realize that they're really sore and that they have some real muscular problems and, possible, some spinal problems, as well.

The first lady of the United States has been touring this area, Laura Bush. She was just here, right at the hotel we're at, only moments ago. She was down at the Red Cross center that has been set up for the victims of the family members and the victims and what have you.

So we'll continue to follow that, as well. And also talk to you about the people who are still awaiting word from their relatives. And we're going to tell you about that scene happening right behind me, over my left shoulder there. Rescuers are -- recovery workers, I should say, and investigators still on that scene. Divers still in the water facing very treacherous conditions -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Don. Thanks so much.

And if you're just tuning in, we want to bring you up to date right now on what's happening this hour along with what Don just told us.

The death toll has risen, but the number of people still unaccounted for has dropped. Five people are now confirmed dead. The sheriff's department says that eight people are still missing.

And recovering workers are facing river currents described as even more treacherous than yesterday. Investigators, meantime, are analyzing evidence including the video that we've been showing you that captured the collapse as it happened.

And also, as Don mentioned, first lady Laura Bush is in Minneapolis right now on a previously scheduled trip. She's going to meet with the victims of the disaster. President Bush plans to be there tomorrow.

Now there were wives and mothers, husbands and fathers heading home after a day of work. And of the five victims recovered from Wednesday's bridge collapse, we know the identities of four.

A heartbreaking outcome for these young women that we interviewed yesterday. You may remember Ann and Jessica Engebretsen, hoping that their mother had somehow managed to survive. Well, last evening they got the news that they feared. Their mother, Sherry, is among the dead.

So is 36-year-old Patrick Holmes, who married his high school sweetheart 12 years ago. He leaves behind a 6-year-old son and a 4- year-old daughter.

And 32-year-old Julia Blackhawk had two children, 8- and 9-year- old boys, and was going to school part time.

Twenty-nine-year-old Artemio Trinidad-Mena was a Mexican citizen who came to this country ten years ago. His four children range in age from 11 to 2 months.

Now, you'll remember yesterday Don had a chance to interview the daughters of Sherry Engebretsen. Very emotional interview. And Don, I don't think we could ever forget just the emotion they had. The fact that they were adopted and this woman brought them from Bolivia and made them feel like such beautiful young daughters their entire lives.


PHILLIPS: This was hard for them.

LEMON: Yes. And Kyra, we know. I mean, fortunately, we have really good moms who we're very close to, but not everyone is privileged to that. And you know, even your own biological parents.

But these -- these two young ladies, one's 18 and one's 20 years old, adopted by this woman when she was 40 years old. You know, and she went down to Colombia, and said, "You know what? I want these kids." It wouldn't happen for them biologically.

She taught them, according to these girls, how to be women. She was still teaching them how to be safe, how to live their lives with integrity, with faith. And they were holding out hope yesterday, including the father, Ron Engebretsen, hoping that -- you know, that the situation would have been more positive.

During that interview, though, I asked him, I said, you know, "Are you prepared for any situation, Mr. Engebretsen?"

And he said, "I am prepared for every situation, but I want my daughters to be positive, because she's a strong woman." But sadly, we learned that 60-year-old Sherry Engebretsen had passed away. It's just really a sad situation all around.

We're going to continue to talk about them. Also, honor the people who died here and the heroes, as well.

We want to talk more now about the investigation and about what's going on today. There's been some discrepancies exactly about the number of people who may have perished in all of this, the number of people who are missing, the number of injuries that's going on and also the dangers that the divers are facing in the water.

We want to go now to our Allan Chernoff, who's at the command center here in Minneapolis. He's going to update us on that situation -- Allan.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Don, well, there has been a dispute about the number of missing. The sheriff, the county sheriff had been saying that there were eight people missing. I spoke to the police department. They say that number is entirely speculative. In fact, the police chief had been saying there was between 20 and 30 individuals missing. That was a guess based upon the number of cars that would have been passing over the bridge at that time.

The sheriff, in response, conceded indeed, the number eight he's not certain at all that is accurate, and he's saying also the number is fluid. The sheriff now pulling away from that number eight. And a spokesperson for the sheriff's department confirming that they are no longer sticking with that number eight missing.

So we really do not know exactly how many people are missing, how many people may be underwater.

To find out, well, the divers are supposed to be today going in and, as we've reported, a very slow process. They're worried about car parts that are actually in the water and could hit them; also fuel that has fallen into the water and the possibility that other chunks of the bridge could still fall into the water on divers.

The divers are going in every 30 minutes today, teams of four. They also have 16 boats planned to be in the Mississippi. That's double the number yesterday.

And the strategy today is to double check the cars that are partially submerged and then to also check out the nine objects that were found by sonar that are completely underwater. We do not know whether all nine of those objects are actually vehicles. They may not be. So we'll learn hopefully much more later today -- Don.

LEMON: Allan, during your inquiry there, what did you learn, if anything, about the state's concern about this bridge?

CHERNOFF: That's right. Well, we've learned that the Department of Transportation and the state had been extremely concerned about the state of this bridge.

In fact, in December of last year, we learned from the Associated General Contractors of Minnesota that the state DOT made a request to figure out how to actually put steel plating onto that bridge to solidify it, to reinforce it.

The state expressed its concern to the association that this bridge did not have enough redundancy. It was built in the '60s at a time when apparently engineers did not recognize the need for extra redundancies. And the DOT said if there were a failure in some of the support on that bridge, it could be catastrophic.

So the proposal was put into contractors around the state. That happened in January. But the association said they never heard back from the Department of Transportation.

The Department of Transportation has said that it decided to go ahead with the inspection technique, basically just checking the bridge closely. However, this year that inspection was put off for a $9 million resurfacing program that had been under way, in fact, when the bridge collapsed -- Don.

LEMON: Yes. And Allan, exactly yesterday -- thank you for that report. We learned about that from the National Transportation Safety Board and also from the Minnesota Department of Transportation. Their press conference that they held. We were talking about that.

And Kyra, I remember talking to you after we were both listening to that press conference, and I said here's probably what it's going to boil down to. I don't know if you remember that.

And I said, it didn't have enough redundancies, which meant enough backups. After backup -- most structures, engineering structures, if you're going to build something for the public or something that has to have a lot of traffic going over it, you have to have backup in place where, if one thing fails then another one kicks in. And if that fails, then you have another one kick -- that will kick in. And they call it enough plains or redundancies, as Allan Chernoff was saying.

So we said that yesterday. And it looks like that's what it's going boil down to, if this bridge had that in place.

Also, Kyra, we're going to be talking about the dangers these divers are facing in the water right now in the Mississippi. The currents are crazy here. And you never know what's in the bottom and what's floating around in that water.

PHILLIPS: All that debris and definitely murky and visibility a horrendous problem for divers right now. Don, thanks so much.

Also the lead federal investigator says that this surveillance tape will be a big help. Remember this? He also says that his team will use a computer program to help them analyze the Minneapolis bridge's fatal flaws.

Now, this animation will give you an idea of what appears to have happened during Wednesday's rush hour. Traffic was stopped more than 60 feet above the Mississippi river when the bridge gave way. And as you can see here, it not only broke apart above the river but several sections on both shorelines also collapsed.

Well, the Minneapolis tragedy has already sparked action in other cities. In St. Louis, a bridge carrying about 10,000 vehicles a day is shut down a year earlier than planned. Authorities say that it's just too risky to keep the 82-year-old structure open one more day.

And in Washington state, a 94-year-old bridge over the Elwa River (ph) is closed. It was going to be shut down next month, then demolished to make way for a new span.

Now, the Minneapolis collapse has triggered a nationwide review of all bridges. And CNN will take an in-depth look at the issue in a special investigations unit report: "Road to Ruin: Are We Safe?" It's going to air tonight, 8 Eastern, only on CNN.

Well, impacting your world. The tragedy in Minneapolis has touched people across the country and moved many people to reach out to those in need. You can find more about the disaster as well as what you can do to help at

Straight ahead, one of the Minneapolis rescuers went in the river with little more than hope and a rope, and she came out a hero. What was going through her mind during all of this? Larry King had a chance to talk to her, and we're going to listen in.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.


PHILLIPS: Let's get straight to the newsroom. T.J. Holmes working details on a developing story for us -- T.J.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: Yes, kind of a strange story we saw a little earlier here. Trying to figure out what this was that was in the East River up in New York.

But three people in custody, being questioned right now. Trying to figure out what they were up to because they were in that -- that vessel. It's some kind of submersible, apparently doing some research here, according to the Coast Guard.

This is a submersible that dates back to 1776. And it just kind of bobs along in the river there. One person can get in and kind of direct it around. But it is a replica of something that is called the turtle.

But three people were taken into custody because this thing floated a little too close to a terminal, the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal. This is in downtown Brooklyn and near the huge cruise ship, the Queen Mary II. And so that is what aroused some suspicion, and that's why the three were taken into custody.

Officials did say that no, this does not appear to at all be terror related. They wanted to make that clear. But still the three are being questioned, trying to figure out what their intent was.

The other two people -- one was in the submersible, apparently. Another two were in a rowboat that was nearby, helping to pull this thing along here. But don't know what the intent was, but we are being told they don't believe it was anything terror related. But just kind of a strange little something.

We were trying to figure out exactly what that was, Kyra. And it appears to date back to 1776, so who knew? It's called the turtle. When we get more details about exactly what the -- what the intent was of these three folks, we will pass it along to you.

PHILLIPS: All right. Thanks, T.J.

HOLMES: All right.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's 1:17 Eastern Time. Here's three of the other stories that we're working on in the CNN NEWSROOM this hour. More than a dozen people have been detained in a series of raids in Oakland. Are they linked to the death of an investigative journalists? We may learn more later today.

A federal appeals court says that last year's raid on the Capitol Hill office of Louisiana Congressman William Jefferson was unconstitutional. Some of the documents that were seized will have to be returned.

Earlier this summer, Jefferson pled not guilty to bribery charges.

Not many answers in a preliminary report on last week's helicopter collision over Phoenix. The NTSB says that there was no visible sign of trouble before two Phoenix TV news choppers flew into each other and crashed.

Well, in the midst of this tragedy, we've seen some incredible acts of bravery. Who can forget these images? One rescuer searching car after car on the river without any protective gear.

Shanna Hanson is a captain with the Minneapolis Fire Department. She and the city's fire chief talked with CNN's Larry King last night.


LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": Any dangers connected with recovery efforts?

CAPT. SHANNA HANSON, MINNEAPOLIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: Oh, definitely, sir. There's -- being in the water in the swift water part of the rescue is definitely a danger. There can be things under water that can snag you that you can't see. Currents that might change and shift, causing the debris to shift and pinching something in there.

And then, of course, what our state has recently gotten into is the structural collapse. We have a state USAR (ph) team now. And we've been fortunate enough to receive training in that. So if you can see the structures of the bridge behind us, that was actually probably the biggest concern at that point, having all the widow makers and the bridge hanging up over us whiles we were in the water and on the slabs down there, doing the work.

KING: Chief Clack, did Captain Hanson do what she was supposed to do, or was that above and beyond the call?

CHIEF JIM CLACK, MINNEAPOLIS FIRE DEPARTMENT: Well, it's above and beyond the call to come in from home when you're off duty and do what she did. She's one of our most highly trained captains. She's been through collapse rescue training as well as a lot of other specialty training. So we're very fortunate to have her at the incident so quickly.

But it definitely wasn't part of her duty, other than she's a firefighter and we're always out there to save lives. HANSON: Larry, can I chime in on that?

KING: Sure.

HANSON: Can I chime in on that thought?

KING: Go ahead.

HANSON: I don't believe it was -- with all due respect, Chief, that was not above the call. We had -- that was such a small snapshot that you GUYS are seeing. We had so many guys out there, doing so many heroic things.

And our P.D. force worked in well with us. The medics on scene were great. And our firefighters were out there doing a lot of -- a lot of really, really dangerous work at that time. That was just one tiny little snapshot.


PHILLIPS: True firefighter right there.

Well, later in the NEWSROOM, we'll going to hear from another diver about the special difficulties with that operation.

Well, do you drive across a potentially dangerous bridge, day in and day out?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most people who are not in this field, they assume that any bridge that they drive on on a daily basis is a safe structure, but you know, in certain cases that may not be the case.


PHILLIPS: Ahead in the NEWSROOM, the state of America's bridges. How safe is your bridge? We'll tell you.


PHILLIPS: Chrysler is an American company once again. Susan Lisovicz at the New York Stock Exchange to tell us what does it mean for the struggling automaker.

Hey, Susan.


Well, we just got word a short while ago that Cerberus took control of Chrysler group from DaimlerChrysler, the German company that has owned it -- or had earned it for the past nine years. It's a more than $7 billion deal. Daimler, however, will hold the nearly 20 percent stake in the 82-year-old automaker.

Lots of implications to this deal. One of them is that we probably won't know quite as much about Chrysler going forward. As a private company, it will no longer report quarterly earnings.

Chrysler, after all, lost nearly $2 billion in the first quarter of this year. We will continue to get monthly sales figures, and that will give us some sense of how the company is doing.

As for DaimlerChrysler, it will be called just Daimler.

Kyra, lots of companies that do go private go -- one of the incentives is to not have to give all this public information. They can take -- make a lot of changes, and they won't be under the scrutiny of shareholders.

PHILLIPS: Well, just yesterday, too, we got auto sales for July. And they weren't -- they weren't looking pretty good, right?

LISOVICZ: They were terrible. In fact, for the big three, they now have less than 50 percent of the U.S. marketplace. It's really very sad, illustrating the kinds of problems that they face. One of them is they're not making cars that beam want to buy in the era of $3 gas.

In a newly released report, hybrid sales, however, are on a record pace for this year. More than 2 percent of vehicles sold in the first half of this year were hybrids. That represents a 35 percent increase compared to a year ago.

The market, however, not making any increases. Stuck in reverse if you will. Stocks falling on a weaker than expected jobs report that shows the unemployment rate inched up to 4.6 percent.

The number of new jobs created in July, meanwhile, grew at the smallest pace since February.


LISOVICZ: Stocks also being hurt by news of a big mortgage lender shutting down. I'll have that story in the next hour of NEWSROOM. I want to keep my bad news to a minimum. So I sort of pace it out through the afternoon -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right. Bring us some good news, as well. Thanks, Susan.

LISOVICZ: You're welcome.

PHILLIPS: Well, taking Big Bird, Elmo or Dora the Explorer away from your preschooler won't be the highlight of your day but it might be necessary. Mattel has recalled almost a million plastic toys from its Fisher-Price division because there's lead in the paint.

Experts say that you should check all of your child's toys now.


CHRIS BYRNE, TOY INDUSTRY ANALYST: What you need to do is use common sense and check your toys. Make sure there are no signs of wear. Make sure there aren't chips on them. And f there are, take them away. Because you never want to, you know, expose your kids to that make. And that's what you should do normally with your toys, making sure that they're not at risk of breaking.


PHILLIPS: Well, guess where those toys were made? China, where about 80 percent of all toys are made. Mattel says that it's taking a hard look at its Chinese manufacturing partners.

Well, we've heard that there were warnings signs. We've heard that other bridges across the country are in no better shape. So what's Washington going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again? We're going to talk with two congressmen about that, coming up.


PHILLIPS: Bring you up to date on what we know at this hour. The death toll has risen, but the number of people still unaccounted for has dropped. Five people are now confirmed dead. The sheriff's department says eight people are missing.

And recovery workers are facing river currents described as even more treacherous than yesterday. Investigators, meantime, are analyzing evidence, including that video that we've been showing you that captured the collapse as it all happened.

Now, first lady Laura Bush is in Minneapolis on a previously scheduled trip. She's going to meet with the victims of the disaster, and President Bush plans to be there tomorrow.

Well, we're told that Mississippi River currents are even more treacherous than they were yesterday. But the hard work continues at the site of the Minneapolis bridge collapse.

Our Don Lemon back on the job for us, standing by with an update. And as everybody knows and we've been talking about, Don, not only all that debris but the clarity of the Mississippi is just brutal.

LEMON: Yes, it certainly is. You know, I spoke to someone who is a master diver, someone who is part of another -- an adjacent county's professional dive team, dive and rescue team. And he sat down with me last night for about two or three hours and just explained to me the difficulties in going through that.

And what he said to me, Kyra, is that, you know, most of the time when you're diving, even when it's murky conditions, you've got, you know, maybe a foot, two, three, four feet in front of you. That's in murky conditions. And then, of course, when it's clear, you know, it's all out there. It can just be clear as if you're standing not in water.

But he said when you're in the Mississippi, because it's like soup, no matter how much light you put on it, what have you, it's like four inches in front of your face. That's the only visibility that you have. So we have that interview with him. We're going to get that ready for our viewers, and we're going to share that with you a little bit later on in the CNN NEWSROOM.

But you've been talking about, you and Allan Chernoff, about the discrepancies in the number of the people who are injured and also what's going on with the people who have, sadly, perished. That number going up from four to five today.

But also, the number of people who are injured, as well, a number of people missing, I should say, Allan was talking about. But the number of people who are injured going up because people are really walking around, walking injured, not knowing that they are injured and then days later having to go to the hospital to get checked out.

I spoke with the head of the Hennepin County Medical Center, their spokesperson, Dr. John Hick, and he told me this just a short time ago.


LEMON: John Hick, who's from the Hennepin County Medical Center, joins us now, where most of the people who were injured were taken to. We've been talking about the fifth victim who was found. We've been talking about the number of injuries where we said that at least 79 people have been injured.

But John is telling me that that number goes up, especially one or two days after the incident, when people come in because the adrenaline has worn off.

DR. JOHN HICK, HENNEPIN COUNTY MEDICAL CENTER: Exactly. You know, the forces that affected these folks on the bridge, you know, forward, backward, up and down, you're going to have a lot of muscular injuries, in addition to bony injuries to the spine, the neck.

And so a lot of folks think, you know, "I'm OK. I'm doing all right." Their adrenaline surge and they go to bed. They get up the next morning and they're just stiff as a board. They've got very severe muscular injuries.

And so we did see at least 20 more people in area hospitals yesterday that were directly related to the initial incident. So you know, all told, you know, at least 100 people coming to area hospitals over the last two days because of the incident.

But fortunately, none of those injuries were significant enough to require hospitalization. Some of the initial victims are improving. We did discharge one person from Hennepin County yesterday. We expect to discharge at least one more today.

LEMON: Yes. We certainly hope so.

And as we've been saying, you know, 79 people injured. And it's -- you know, it's tough to say this, but it's the truth. Considering 100,000 cars that go across this bridge every day, and we've had four deaths so far and eight people are still unaccounted for, really that the tragedy wasn't much greater, you know, that more people didn't lose their lives or got injured.

But hearing 79 people injured but then that number is going up according to you, but not necessarily with life-threatening injuries.

Talk to us about -- we heard one story yesterday just heart- wrenching about a person who actually got to say good-bye to their family. They had been injured and then, sadly, died. Explain to me as much as you can what that was like and about that situation.

HICK: You know, there's nothing harder in emergency medicine than actually talking to somebody and then either having them die or finding out later that they died. It's -- it's just the most powerless feeling in the world.

You know, I'm glad that in that situation there was able to be a little bit of closure provided, you know, by the person being able to speak and being able to communicate with the paramedics and thoughts that he wanted to pass along.

But there's no -- there's no greater difficulty in medicine. And unfortunately, with these kinds of injuries, by the time your heart stops from all these organs being injured in car accidents like this, in building collapses, there's just not much that we can do to bring them back.

LEMON: We've been speaking about those possible John and Jane Does and what have you. And we're going to continue to talk about that. We're going to move on.

But people who came into the hospital, hoping that their family member might have been in the hospital, and you have to tell them, no, they're not here and you have to send them away. It's just terrible, I'm sure.

HICK: It is very hard. And we try make sure we have chaplains and other support and plan for a lot of family members coming, looking for information.

We work with the Red Cross and other agencies on setting up that family support center, that hotline as soon as we can. Collecting all the information from hospitals to find out what patients do you have, what condition are they in, where are they.

LEMON: Right.

HICK: So we can match those families up as quickly as possible.


LEMON: And back now live out here at the scene. And pardon the shaky shot here, but we pushed in really far to give you sort of a close up idea of what's going on.

If you can see that in the bottom left of your screen, that is a train car, one of those train cars which was crushed under this bridge. And you see the cars along the bridge there that were marked yesterday. Kyra, we saw those cars being marked by investigators.

They're saying this is a crime scene. They do that so that they can officially seal it off so that people can't come into the scene.

And also, just like when you had those houses with Hurricane Katrina and tornadoes, they -- they mark them off to make sure that they've been counted, no bodies are in them, they've been checked out. Get the information given to the insurance agency.

And as we move over here, you see that bridge. There's the bridge that collapsed. The truck going over, people who are going over this bridge and then, all of a sudden, that puff of smoke started coming up. That's the bridge they were traveling over.

As we move, that blue thing at the bottom of your screen right there, another crushed train car that's going to be stuck there until they get this off of it.

And as we pull out here -- and again, as I said, pardon. We really pushed in here, just to give you an idea of this. You can see that's investigators standing there on the bridge, on the scene. And that's where those lanes were marked down to two lanes there so they're continuing to rope this off.

And we're going to push all the way back so that they can get into the scene here and toss it back to you.

But that's the latest that's happening here on the scene. Workers are continuing to do their work here. Investigators continuing.

And also, as we've been talking about, the divers in the water facing those really, really hard conditions. And think about it, Kyra. Just put your hand up four inches in front of your face and imagine pitch blackness. And you're feeling around in this.

And you may be able -- you may be while you're down there, you may touch a body, because that's what you're looking for. You're looking to recover victims from this. We're going to talk about that a little bit later on.

PHILLIPS: Yes, that amazing mission. Don, thanks a lot.

Well, fear of bridges is not an uncommon phobia, and you can imagine what this week's disaster meant for those phobics. CNN's Carol Costello takes a look at it.


CAROL COSTELLO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's visual reinforcement of something so many people fear: a bridge collapsing while they are on it. A phobia historically so strong the Maryland Transportation Authority had to hire private companies to drive or tow fearful drivers across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. PAULETTE MAGARIK, FEARS BRIDGES: I have tried it a couple times by myself and I've made it, but I'm always afraid that I'll panic and stop in the middle of the bridge.

COSTELLO: She pays Kent Island Coach and Courier 25 bucks every time she has to cross the Bay Bridge. The Minnesota collapse has heightened her anxiety; so much so she couldn't almost bear to cross the bridge. Only the thought of joining her family, waiting for her, kept her going.

But not everyone will be as courageous.

KEN MEDELL, KENT ISLAND COACH AND COURIER: I worry that people are going change their plans and not -- not cross the Bay Bridge because of that.

COSTELLO: Bridge collapses are not common, but when they happen, they're so visually frightening, they can cause phobias to develop.

DR. GAIL SALTZ, PSYCHIATRIST: Watching something over and over again can actually create a trauma, even if you're not personally at the event.

COSTELLO: But imagine being on the 35 West Bridge and surviving its collapse. For some of those who did, it brings all of those unconscious fears we all have to the surface.

GARY BABINEAU, SURVIVED BRIDGE COLLAPSE: I see now that any -- you know, wherever I am, anything can happen, you know. This is just a freak accident. You know, it doesn't happen every day, but stuff like this can happen. It's real in my mind now that stuff like this can happen.

COSTELLO: Dr. Saltz worries about that kind of reaction.

SALTZ: There are going to be a lot of people like this man who are going watch it or, certainly, if you're closer to it and were there, who are now going to become incapacitated with anxiety about many things that used to be unconscious and now are conscious.

COSTELLO (on camera): And some never get over it. Last year 4,000 people felt the need to have someone drive or tow them over the Chesapeake Bay Bridge, because they were too afraid to do it themselves.

Carol Costello, CNN, Washington.


PHILLIPS: Well, we've heard that there were warning signs, and we've heard that other bridges across the country are in no better shape. So what's Washington going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again? We're going to talk with two congressmen about that issue, straight.

Every new mom hears it: the importance of breastfeeding your precious baby. But a new study shows that fewer moms are doing it. Why? We'll tell you about it in the next hour of the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Checking for cervical cancer has never been easier or cheaper. All that's needed is some vinegar, cotton gauze and a bright light.

Researchers say that one minute after washing a woman's cervix with vinegar and gauze, pre-cancerous lesions will turn white and can be seen with the naked eye under a halogen lamp.

Researchers say the method can reduce the number of cervical cancer cases by a quarter, and because it's so cheap, it could save the lives of millions of women in poor countries. The study appears in the medical journal, "Lancet".

Well, most new moms are reaching for the bottle too soon. The baby bottle, that is. A government survey now finds that almost three-quarters of new moms breastfeed, and that's a new high, but they're stopping too -- they're stopping, also, too soon.

CNN medical correspondent Elizabeth Cohen explains why on "AMERICAN MORNING".


ELIZABETH COHEN, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Willing to give it a shot really, in many ways, experts say, doesn't mean a whole lot. In other words, women are in the hospital. Oftentimes a lactation counselor, a nurse will come in and say let's try it. You put the baby to the breast. That counts as giving it a shot.

Of course, what really is important is do women keep up with it? And what these statistics with the CDC show is that, at three months, only one-third of moms are exclusively breastfeeding, and at six months only 11 percent are exclusively breastfeeding. Those numbers, according to pediatricians, are much too low -- Kiran.

KIRAN CHETRY, CO-HOST, "AMERICAN MORNING": So what is the consensus? I mean, is there really no dispute now that babies who are breastfed end up being healthier than those that get formula?

COHEN: There is no dispute. This is something that everyone, even the people who make formula, agree on. Breast milk is best. It helps keep your child healthier. They're less likely to get ear infections, upper respiratory infections, SIDS. One study says it even helps keep your child slim so they won't become obese later in life. There's no question that breast milk is best.


PHILLIPS: Well, experts say that, ideally, new moms should breastfeed for at least six months.

Straight ahead, we've heard that there were warning signs. We heard that other bridges across the country are in no better shape. So what's Washington going to do to make sure this doesn't happen again? We're going talk with two congressmen about that next in the NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: Well, you can't get very far in America without going over a bridge, and bridges, like everything else, begin to show wear and tear if they're not maintained. What happened in Minneapolis is extremely rare, but compromised bridges are all too common.

CNN's Dan Simon investigates.


DAN SIMON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Some of them, like San Francisco's Golden Gate, are national symbols. But a startling number of America's bridges have become a symbol for something else: neglect. And now, danger.

Bridges are essential to our daily lives. But more than 160,000 of them, more than a quarter of all the bridges in this country, have been rated as structurally deficient, or functionally obsolete. In plain English, they're getting old.

PROF. MO EHSANI, UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: Like anything else, there is a useful life for all structures. And ultimately, they need to be replaced or strengthened.

SIMON: Engineering professor Mo Ehsani has designed nearly a dozen bridges in Arizona.

EHSANI: For most people who are not in this field, they assume that any bridge that they drive on on a daily basis is a safe structure. But, you know, in certain cases, that may not be the case.

SIMON: Experts say some of the most-traveled bridges in the nation have problems. They're structurally deficient.

Bridges like the 51-year-old Tappan Zee Bridge in New York. More than 135,000 cross daily.

And the Quinnipiac Bridge in Connecticut, 50 years old. It was designed to handle over 80,000 cars and trucks daily. But it's actually carrying more than 140,000 a day.

STEPHEN FLYNN, AUTHOR: We're absolutely not doing what needs to be done to make sure our bridges are adequately maintained, are safe.

SIMON: Stephen Flynn wrote "Edge of Disaster", examining our nation's aging infrastructure, including bridges.

FLYNN: It's very clear that we have to fix the bridges and keep them adequately maintained. Because they're really marvels of engineering, in many cases. But when they fail, they really fail.

And so it's not just loss of life for us, which is, of course, a real tragedy. It is that these are the true lifelines, in many cases, of our cities.

SIMON: Some states are worse off than others. Federal data shows more than a third of bridges in New York, West Virginia and Vermont are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. The same goes for Connecticut, Oklahoma, North Carolina and Hawaii.

Pennsylvania is even worse, at nearly 40 percent. That state has 30 of the same design as the collapsed Minneapolis bridge.

And in Rhode Island, 53 percent, more than half the bridges there.

(on camera) Bridges in western states tend to do better than other parts of the country. One reason: the bridges are newer. But climate also plays a major factor.

(voice-over) Professor Ehsani says bridges in colder climates corrode more quickly.

EHSANI: The reason, primarily, is because of the deicing chemicals that we use every winter to keep those roadways clean.

SIMON: Federal officials say it would cost $461 billion to fix America's bridges and roadways. The tragedy in Minneapolis may have provided the political and emotional will, finally, to take action.

Dan Simon, CNN, Tucson, Arizona.


PHILLIPS: So what can be done about the nation's aging infrastructure, and where will the money come from? We're joined now by two members of the House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure, the ones that make these types of decisions.

John Mica is the committee's ranking Republican. He's in our Washington bureau. Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon, joins us from Capitol Hill.

Gentlemen, thanks so much for being with me.



PHILLIPS: I want to get right to the numbers, and we put this together from the Bureau of Transportation report from 2006. And we took the top five, the highest percentage of obsolete and deficient bridges. Actually, the top six, because the numbers were so high, the percentages were so high.

D.C., 64 percent of the bridges are deficient or obsolete. Rhode Island at 56 percent. Massachusetts at 52 percent. Hawaii, 46 percent. Pennsylvania, 43 percent; and New York 38 percent. That is a large number of bridges with some major problems.

Congressman DeFazio, could we see another Minnesota disaster in one of these areas?

DEFAZIO: We certainly could. We've got to put increased emphasis on the bridge inspection program.

A lot of state officials are between a rock and a hard place. They've got a critical bridge carrying a lot of traffic. They don't have enough money. And they're saying, "Well, we'll watch it."

Well, unless you're watching it 24/7 and even in this case that wouldn't have been good enough, given the almost instantaneous failure of the entire structure.

PHILLIPS: And you know, I keep hearing this: can't get the money. Not enough money. Congressman Mica, why does it take a disaster like this to get so much attention on this issue?

I mean, you guys are in charge of trying to get that money and take care of these problems. What can you do differently?

MICA: Well, first of all, I think part of the problem is that we don't have a national infrastructure plan, a strategic plan for building the nation's infrastructure.

I took over the Republican side of the TNI committee a few months ago, and I hear little suggestions for improvement. But if you look at the nation, we're drowning in congestion. We have 80,000 bridges that are structurally deficient. We don't have a single high-speed rail system. Our rail ports (ph), airports all need a major investment. We haven't done that since Eisenhower actually proposed the interstate 50 years ago.

PHILLIPS: So what's it going to take, Congressman?

MICA: Well, first of all, I think we need to know what are -- what do we want our interstate to look like? Do we want our bridges collapsing? I think we need a strategic plan.

Then we need a way to finance it. We need some private sector involvement, public sector involvement. We need a way to finance it.

And then we need to move these projects forward. Some of them take years and years. Now, this bridge will be built -- rebuilt in a hurry, but it can take you two decades to even get some repair work done under all the red tape.

PHILLIPS: So Congressman DeFazio, the money that's put toward helping keep these bridges intact and the roads intact, doesn't that come from the gas tax?

DEFAZIO: It does. Hasn't been increased since '92. We recommended an increase two years ago. George Bush fought tooth and nail.

In fact, if George Bush had had his way, we'd be spending even less today on our bridges than we are. We fought with him. We got the number up but nowhere near the number we originally proposed on a bipartisan basis on the committee, which would have been 30 percent higher for the bridge program.

America Society of Civil engineers says we need to double the bridge program on an annual basis over the next 20 years to deal with the most dangerous and difficult bridges, not even to totally revamp the entire system.

PHILLIPS: Congressman, I'm going to have to get you to respond, because he's putting the blame on the Bush administration. And you know, why -- why can't you up the gas tax if that's the answer?

MICA: Well, first of all, that's not the answer because cars, even our federal policy like CAFE, which are the mileage standards. We're increasing them. So we're getting the same amount of money in and driving further and tearing these roads up. So that's not the answer.

Then we're going to ethanol and some others, which we actually pay less into the fund.

Now, Mr. DeFazio and Mr. Oberstar actually said to governors and other state transportation leaders just a few months ago, a letter to stop any private activity...

DEFAZIO: That's not an accurate statement, John.


DEFAZIO: We pointed out -- we pointed out that what they were doing is privatizing existing assets, not improving them, like the Indiana Turnpike. Change -- increasing the tolls and not dealing with the infrastructure deficit. They're (UNINTELLIGIBLE). They're not dealing with the deficit.

Now, come on, let's be honest.

MICA: Actually, in Indiana they sold off the turnpike, took the money and put it into bridges in Indiana that serve some of that area.

PHILLIPS: You know what's interesting? Gentlemen, here's what's interesting. He's what's interesting.

These are not Democratic bridges.


PHILLIPS: These are not Republican bridges. These are bridges that every American drives over.


PHILLIPS: And look what happened. The money was not put in, obviously, or the fixes were not made that needed to be made, and look at where we are.

DEFAZIO: The president drew a line in the sand, and he said not a penny more of tax. In fact, he wanted to under spend the collections of the gas tax.

Now, John can't deny that. John joined with the committee in voting for a tax gas increase, which the Republican leadership and the Bush White House stonewalled.

MICA: Well, that may be true and I think we need -- we do need more...

PHILLIPS: Gentlemen, we've got to take a quick break. We'll be right back. Hold those thoughts. We'll be right back.


PHILLIPS: Just before we went to break, we were debating the nation's aging infrastructure, talking about what should be done about it and where should the money come from. Taking on the two hot topics two -- all those topics, rather, two members of the House Committee of Transportation and Infrastructure.

We're going to get back to John Mica, the committee's ranking Republican. He's in our Washington bureau. And also Peter DeFazio, Democrat from Oregon. He's right there on Capitol Hill.

It was just getting heated. We're going to go back to that right after a quick break.



PHILLIPS (voice-over): So many bridges. So many cracks and strains and cars and years. And so little upkeep. Tens of thousands of America's bridges are rated structurally deficient. What will it take to make sure the Twin Cities tragedy is one of a kind?

The scope of this disaster could have been so much greater, if it weren't for the heroes. Ordinary people did extraordinary things, with their own lives hanging in the balance.

Still, families are trapped in an agonizing wait. The river's down, but filled with dangers for recovery divers.