MINNEAPOLIS (NNS) -- Department of Defense forces assisting with search and recovery operations at the site of the I-35W bridge collapse are continuing their efforts around-the-clock.
Recovery operations continued Aug. 15, as U.S. Navy divers conducted rigging operations with onsite contractors. The contractors, hired by the Minnesota Department of Transportation, are using heavy equipment to cut through the debris, which will provide needed access to remaining vehicles. The divers continue to assess their best access points to remaining vehicles as debris is removed.
"Recovery operations will continue as part of a larger team effort, with safety being a paramount concern during debris removal and dive operations," said Army Col. Michael Chesney, Defense Coordinating Officer and the on-scene commander for DoD forces involved in the recovery efforts. "We are here to help and provide support to the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office as long as we are requested."
Chesney said he is impressed with the spirit of cooperation between all agencies onsite participating in the recovery operations.
"As I observe the divers working in partnership with the contractors removing debris, it demonstrates the joint effort being put forth by everyone as we continue 24/7 recovery operations," he said.
DoD forces assisting in this effort includes a Defense Coordinating Element augmented with personnel from U.S. Army North, Fort Sam Houston, Texas, and Navy divers from Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit (MDSU) 2 from Naval Amphibious Base Little Creek, Va. They have been in Minneapolis since Aug. 6, at the request of the U.S. Department of Transportation and in support of the Hennepin County Sheriff's Office.
For more news from Navy Expeditionary Combat Command, visit www.news.navy.mil/local/necc/.