This is a rush transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," August 2, 2007. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.
SEAN HANNITY, CO-HOST: Also joining us tonight, our very own Rick Leventhal, who has also been on the scene all day and talking with family members of missing and lost loved ones.
Rick, what have you been able to gather from the area?
RICK LEVENTHAL, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: Well, Sean, certainly the human toll is the most heartbreaking aspect of the story, and I did speak with several family members of the missing, including an 18-year-old girl who should be focused on starting her freshman year of college, but instead she's been facing the awful possibility that her mother is gone forever.
JESSICA ENGEBRETSEN, MOTHER MISSING AFTER BRIDGE COLLAPSE: I lost my mom. I don't know. It's the hardest thing ever. It's really hard.
LEVENTHAL (voice-over): Eighteen-year-old Jessica Engebretsen lost both her grandmothers a month ago. Now her mom, Sherry, is missing after taking the I-35 bridge home from work Wednesday evening.
J. ENGEBRETSEN: She never drives that bridge.
LEVENTHAL (on camera): Never?
J. ENGEBRETSEN: No. All summer she's never driven it and all of a sudden yesterday — we don't know why — but she took that way home.
We kept calling her cell phone constantly and just trying to get a hold of her and nothing. We don't know where her car is. We can't locate her car. No license plate, nothing. No names at the hospital. We've called every hospital in sight. Now it's just a matter of time.
She has a really bad knee, which we're really worried about. She can't swim.
LEVENTHAL: Can't swim?
J. ENGEBRETSEN: No. She has a really bad knee. That's what might have been holding her back.
LEVENTHAL (voice-over): Jessica's mom and dad have been married 32 years. Ronald Engebretsen says he's doing a lot of praying and not second-guessing Sherry's chosen route home.
RONALD ENGEBRETSEN, WIFE MISSING AFTER BRIDGE COLLAPSE: My wife made a decision, and I'm standing by her. Whatever decision Sherry made at that point was the right decision for her at that point.
OK, that bridge — I worked downtown Minneapolis for 30 years, and I've been across that bridge for 30 years.
J. ENGEBRETSEN: We just hope that God will be with her right now and just stay strong. I know she's living right now. I just know it. I just know it. She's really strong. I know she is. I know she is. That's all we have to believe right now.
LEVENTHAL (on camera): Have you thought about what you'll say or do if you should find your wife?
R. ENGEBRETSEN: Oh, yes. I'll hug her and give her a big kiss. That's pretty obvious.
LEVENTHAL: Well, sadly, that reunion will not happen, because late this afternoon Sherry was identified as one of the dead.
The other families of the missing may have to wait quite a bit longer because of the difficulties those divers are facing in recovering the dead from the bottom of the river is very, very large indeed. There's twisted metal and concrete and there's shifting vehicles. It's going to be quite some time.
But we do have this bit of potential good news. I'm hearing from a reliable source that it's possible that, while the death toll — or the number missing has been said to be between 20 and 30, the actual number could be much lower. In fact, possibly as low as eight to 12 still missing.
That's aside from the four dead that have already been identified.
HANNITY: Rick, that is a heartbreaking piece, but more specifically, a little bit more information on why they're saying — because Shep also reported that there is a great potential here, that this death toll may be, in fact, be much lower than originally thought, at least throughout the day here.
What is making them pass that information on to you?
LEVENTHAL: Well, certainly in the initial hours after this incident, there were a lot of people who were missing. And they didn't know where they were. Some of those people apparently are now surfacing. They're finding them alive in other places.
But also they have now, they believe, identified the vehicles that are on the bottom of the river. And they say — what I'm hearing is that there are a dozen vehicles, 12 in all. And my understanding is that they now believe that the number of victims in those vehicles is the number that I gave you. So potentially far lower than what they had originally feared.
ALA COLMES, CO-HOST: Hey, Rick, we thank you very much for your appearance with us tonight and giving us all the information you have.
We're now joined by the spokeswoman for the Coast Guard, Anastasia Visneski. Anastasia, thank you very much for being with us tonight.
We're hearing stories of people submerged, being pinned, being crushed. These are stories you're hearing from the rescue workers?
ANASTASIA VISNESKI, SPOKESWOMAN, COAST GUARD: That's correct. And it's really important right now to emphasize that the Coast Guard's heart and prayers go out to the families. This is a difficult time for a very great community. And we're here to support them.
COLMES: What is the Coast Guard doing specifically? And what are some of the obstacles you're facing?
VISNESKI: The Coast Guard has closed the river between mile markers 847 and mile marker 854. Basically, what we have done is establish a safety perimeter to make sure that we're keeping the river clear for the rescue workers so that we can support the local authorities as they search.
HANNITY: I want to ask you — I want to follow up on what Captain Aldrich was saying in the last segment here, the challenges, very specifically, that the divers are facing here, the current, the debris, the murkiness of the waters.
You know these waters as well as anybody. Can you describe that in a little bit more detail, those specific challenges that these divers now have in this recovery effort?
VISNESKI: Well, the Coast Guard actually does not have divers in the water. We have two small boats continuously going. We have four small boats on scene with eight crews.
And so what you're looking at here is a river that is generally very fast moving. It's a low-visibility river. And with all this debris in the water that makes life difficult both above and below the water for rescuers and for the Coast Guard.
HANNITY: Anastasia, we thank you very much for your time tonight. Thanks for being with us.
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