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Bridge death toll rises to 8

MINNEAPOLIS - Divers found another body Friday in the wreckage of the interstate bridge, bringing the death toll from last week's collapse to at least eight.

The latest body was found about noon. The pace of recovery has quickened since Navy divers joined an effort led for most of the first week by local dive teams.

At least two bodies, and possibly a third, were recovered Thursday. Authorities were working to identify the most recently recovered remains.

Five people were known dead soon after the Aug. 1 collapse, but eight more were listed as missing and presumed dead. The only recovered victim to be identified this week, 47-year-old Peter Hausmann of Rosemount, was on that list.

As the search operation continued, U.S. Transportation Secretary Mary Peters said she would make $50 million immediately available to help Minnesota authorities with the recovery operation and cleanup.

The funds are an advance on $250 million approved by Congress but not yet appropriated. They come on top of $5 million in emergency federal aid pledged right after the disaster, and another $5 million to help the local public transit system handle the loss of the heavily used Interstate 35W bridge.

'We want to make sure the state has the resources to move forward,' Peters said at a news conference near the wreckage.

National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Mark Rosenker said investigators obtained a still photograph of the bridge Thursday from someone flying overhead before it fell. He said the picture clearly showed where loads and equipment were located on the bridge and will help with the analysis of what caused the collapse.

Rosenker said that if investigators identify any 'glaring safety gap' that might apply to other bridges they would alert authorities around the country to prevent a similar tragedy.

Navy divers went back into the water around sunrise Friday, said Senior Chief Dave Nagle, spokesman for the dive team. 'Since we've been here for a few days, they've got a good feel for the area - some of the places where it is pretty challenging to move around,' he said.

On Thursday, the body of Hausmann was the first to be recovered. Divers later found more remains initially thought to have belonged to one person, but authorities later said they may have belonged to two others. Authorities were still working Friday to identify them.

'The additional remains appear to probably represent more than one individual,' Medical Examiner Andrew Baker said Thursday night.

Baker said it might become more difficult to positively identify remains now that they've been in the water more than a week. He said dental records and DNA evidence would be used if needed.

The list of missing included a pregnant nursing student and her 2-year-old daughter, and another woman and her adult son, who has Down syndrome. Nine survivors remained hospitalized Friday.