MINNEAPOLIS - Search crews pulled a crushed car out of the murky water Saturday at the site of a deadly bridge collapse, and authorities said it was the only car they had found in which the passengers were unaccounted for.
It wasn't immediately certain whether the vehicle, which was pulled out of the Mississippi River for closer inspection, contained any bodies, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said.
Families of the missing continued to wait for word that any bodies had been found in the Mississippi River. The number of dead stands at five, and at least eight victims are believed trapped in the wreckage.
Divers were being pulled out of the water occasionally so crews could remove debris or assist National Transportation Safety Board investigators.
'Diving operations are continuing, and they will continue until tonight unless the weather goes south on us,' said Sgt. Tracey Martin of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
A detailed examination of the wreckage around the southern end of the bridge led investigators to conclude 'that is probably not where the event began,' said Mark Rosenker, chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board. The southern end shifted 81 feet during the collapse.
As a result, he said, investigators will use a helicopter mounted with a high-resolution camera - equipment like that used by Hollywood film crews - to look for points where the metal was cut, sheared or pulled on the northern end.
Rosenker also announced that the FBI had completed mapping the debris field, which will allow the state transportation department to begin removing cars from the fallen bridge's deck, as well as the deck itself.
Under police escort, families of the missing were bused Saturday from a Red Cross center to the disaster site. When the doors opened, about 40 people streamed out and went straight to the edge, a few with arms wrapped around each other's shoulders.
Most appeared silent, while a few pointed at the collapsed bridge. After no more than 10 minutes, they reboarded the buses, some hugging as they left to return to the temporary Red Cross center.
The missing include Christine Sacorafas, 45, a recent transplant to Minnesota who was on her way to teach a Greek folk dancing class; Greg Jolstad, 45, a construction worker who was operating a skid loader on the bridge; Peter Hausmann, 47, a former missionary heading to pick up a friend; and Somali immigrant Sadiya Sahal, 23, a pregnant nursing student traveling with her 2-year-old daughter, Hanah.
Of the roughly 100 injured, 24 remained hospitalized Saturday, five in critical condition.
President Bush took an aerial tour of the damage Saturday morning, then went to the scene to speak with a construction worker who helped rescue children. After walking around the site, Bush went to a makeshift command post where he spoke with the families of two victims, as well as first responders and rescue workers.
The president pledged to help expedite the bridge's reconstruction. The eight-lane bridge, which came tumbling within seconds during evening rush hour, once carried 141,000 vehicles a day.