Real-Life Heroes Describe Helping Rescue People After Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

This is a rush transcript from "The Big Story With John Gibson," August 2, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

JOHN GIBSON, "BIG STORY" HOST: Right now professional dive teams are scouring the Mississippi River for bodies and cars that may be trapped below that collapsed bridge. At least 30 people are still missing. We're now hearing about as many as 50 cars went into the water. When you think about that: This is rush hour, there is construction on the bridge, four lanes of traffic squeezed into two and, in fact, a lot of cars were just sitting there on the bridge when it suddenly dumped them into the river.

Jared Powers and Joe Hughes ran to the bridge right after they saw the bridge go down and helped with rescuing people. So, Jared, tell me what you and Joe did when you got to the river's edge?

JARED POWERS, HELPED RESCUE PEOPLE: Well once we got to the river's edge, we saw that there clearly weren't enough medical personnel there. There were some emergency crews, but clearly not enough to help everybody out. So what we did is we went over and got as close to the bridge as we could and there were a few firefighters pulling people out of the river, and there were also emergency crews taking people out of cars and we would help them load those people onto stretchers and then bring them back to ambulances.

GIBSON: Joe, what did you see down there?

JOE HUGHES, HELPED RESCUE PEOPLE: When we first arrived on the scene, there weren't that many firefighters there, so there was one thing that really stuck out was like the cars that were just completely tangled and wrapped around all the rubble and metal everywhere. And then I specifically remember one firefighter who was swimming with — holding a man that we actually later delivered to one of the ambulances down the road, who was just, his entire face was bleeding everywhere and like was just red everywhere around the face. The whole scene, like the...

GIBSON: Were you seeing people getting themselves out of their cars in this wreckage? Or people that needed help getting out?

HUGHES: There were people that were getting help and also others that were like, people that were stranded on like that bridge in the middle that was like half submerged in the river that were just kind of sitting there and standing around kind of. Most of the construction workers that we saw, they seemed to be OK. There was like a half a dozen that we saw, and they were just standing there kind of looking around, seeing if they could get help from like firefighters to get off.

GIBSON: Jared, I imagine everybody was in shock, but was anybody telling you what happened? Were they telling you what it sounded like, felt like, what they saw?

POWERS: No, I think we were all kind of on the same page. We all knew that it was, you know, a disaster and that we all needed to work together to, you know, help these people out.

GIBSON: And did you see people that you just couldn't help?

HUGHES: Yeah, we saw a couple cars that were submerged in the river and we couldn't do anything about that. But there were firefighters swimming out there and, you know, I hope that they were able to rescue those people, but we did all that we could.

GIBSON: Jared and Joe, good job. Thanks very much, and way to go in an emergency situation.

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