Bridge Collapse: Flashback to 1967

Posted by: Loren Coleman on August 1st, 2007

Bridge Collapse

A bridge over the Mississippi River has fallen.

map I-35W

The I-35 W is visible as one of the darker (thus wider) bridges on this map, and is labeled. It is seen near the Gasworks Area and the Bohemian Flats.

As it gets near 10 pm EDT, the wire services are saying seven people are reported dead from the freeway bridge that fell into the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, Minnesota, about four hours ago.

Reuters is flashing the news around the world that “One hundred cars [are] missing in US bridge collapse.”

News channels on television are showing wall-to-wall images of the collapse.

It reminds me of the Silver Bridge collapse over the Ohio River at Point Pleasant, West Virginia, on December 15, 1967. In that tragedy, thirty-seven (37) cars and trucks were on the bridge when it fell, taking them into the water. Forty-six (46) individuals died, with 44 bodies found and two bodies never recovered.

Despite popular legend, no Mothman was seen that day, but the banshee-like link between the sightings of the previous 13 months and the Silver Bridge collapse will live forever due to The Mothman Prophecies book and movie.

Needless to say, no ties to Mothman are apparent with today’s collapse (yet).

Rescue officials told CNN there could be up to 50 to 100 cars in the river.

The entire span of the 35W bridge collapsed about 6:05 pm where the freeway crosses the Mississippi River near University Avenue, not far from the University of Minnesota.

The road was carrying bumper to bumper traffic when the 160-metre steel arch bridge collapsed at rush hour (just as occurred with the Silver Bridge). The bridge, coincidentally built in 1967, was about 60 feet/20 metres above the river.

Another spooky link: This newly collapsed Minnesota bridge is a portion of I-35. It will be called the I-35W Bridge by the media throughout the next few days (and into history). The Silver Bridge that collapsed in 1967 was part of U.S. Highway 35.

My wishes go out to any cryptozoologists (such as Mark A. Hall, author of Thunderbirds: America’s Living Legends of Giant Birds) and cryptoartists (e.g. “Mall of America Mandrill” cartoonist Steve Stwalley) living in Minneapolis-St. Paul for their safety, and the safe return of their friends and family. To all the victims, a speedy recovery, and to those who lost loved ones, my condolences.

I will make updates here, as required. The death toll is expected to increase.


In summary, the Minneapolis bridge collapsed at rush hour, 6:05 PM Central Time. It is called the I-35W Bridge because it is a portion of Interstate 35, over the Mississippi River. It was built in 1967.

The Silver Bridge (tied to Mothman by popular culture) that collapsed on December 15, 1967, over the Ohio River, was part of U. S. Highway 35. That collapse occurred at 5:04 PM Eastern Time, during rush hour.

In 1967, 67 people fell into the water. Forty-six died. It is too early to know the final toll due to the I-35 collapse.

Point Pleasant Silver Bridge

Bridge Collapse

The two photos above are from the Silver Bridge collapse of 1967.

For recent blogs in the wake of the I-35W Bridge event, see:

Bridge Collapse: Flashback to 1967;

Bridge Name Game: Reeves/McDaniel;

Beyond Mothman: I-35W Blues; and

The Mothman Prophecies: Silver Bridge Collapse.

Loren Coleman About Loren Coleman
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading living cryptozoologist. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013. He returned as an infrequent contributor beginning Halloween week of 2015. Coleman is the founder in 2003, and current director of the International Cryptozoology Museum in Portland, Maine.

26 Responses to “Bridge Collapse: Flashback to 1967”

  1. Ceroill responds:

    My thoughts go out to those who suffered through this and their families.

  2. SEBigfoot2007 responds:

    By looking at the bridge scene, the death toll will almost certainly climb past 6. Sad day.

  3. satarina responds:

    to everyone affected by this, my sympathies. what a horrible thing to happen.

  4. sschaper responds:

    I’ve been over that many times. Pretty wild. Even though it is 84 this late at night in Minneapolis, the water will be cold, too long in the water.

    Tomorrow at first light, the body recovery begins.

    140,000 cars go over that bridge every day. So the chance any given person was on it at the time is pretty slim.

    It was a hot one today. Survivors report hearing a series of bangs and then it went down in stages. I wonder if those were bolts shattering. Heat expansion might have had something to do with it, but this is not an old bridge, and this isn’t the hottest it gets in the Cities, not by 20 degrees.

    Homeland Security says it wasn’t terrorism, even though no one knows in the least what happened, and al Qaeda just warned of an immanent attack.

    But most likely not. Not a barge, as there are no pylons into the river for this bridge, as that would have blocked navigation.

    20 known missing. One was one of the construction workers.

  5. twblack responds:

    The death toll will more than likely be more than 6. My thoughts and prayers go out to all.

  6. mrdark responds:

    First thing I said when I saw the images on TV: My God, it’s Point Pleasant all over again.

  7. kithra responds:

    On seeing this story top of our UK news this morning my exact thoughts were also that it was just like Point Pleasant. My sympathies go out to all involved.

  8. Loren Coleman responds:

    I have added new coincidential notes (“In summary…” above) regarding the fact both of these bridges are parts of highway/interstate systems via the number 35.

  9. Kim responds:

    Hi Guys,

    I live in Milwaukee, about 7 hours drive from Minneapolis. On the tv news last night the reporters were saying there was a heat crack in the bridge that repair crews were working on all summer. I dont know anything about brides but I would think this stress/heat crack may be the reason the bridge collapsed.

    This morning on the tv news, the reporters are saying 20 people are missing and 9 confirmed dead.

    We started watching the coverage at about 7:00, the bridge collapsed at about 6:05. I can say that the CNN video and detail coverage was poor compared to what the local news crews were sending to Milwaukee.

    On the news previous bridge collapsed since the 1800’s to the present were discussed.

    It’s horrible, but history shows that bridges collapse. I don’t see anything paranormal about it at this time.

    Recently something similar happened in Milwaukee to a newer bridge. A stress crack was discovered and part of the bridge fell off. Luckily it happend when no cars were on it and it was properly repaired.

    I didn’t think about Point Pleasant, I thought it reminded me of the earthquake in California in 89. The images of the bridge laying on the train, the way it came down in sections. And that people in buildings one block away felt the bridge fall, reminded me of the 89 earthquake.

    Is highway 35 a highway that goes across the entire U.S.?

  10. pandafarmer responds:

    I crossed the bridge 10 minutes before it happened. I definitely thought of our friends in Ohio after I heard what happened soon after I reached my destination a mere mile from the site. What a surreal experience!

  11. crypto-hunter465 responds:

    Wow, I recently read the Mothman book and this is very much like it. I hope that the death is not as high as at Point Pleasant. My prayers to the families.

  12. Loren Coleman responds:

    CNN is reporting this morning that 50 cars are still in the water.

    Modern rescue efforts, the time of day, and the immediate help that arrived probably will reduce the death toll, compared to the Silver Bridge.

    Nevertheless, every death is significant, and the eventual loss of say half the number of the Silver Bridge final tally will be tragic. It almost feels like 23 deaths may be low.

  13. Mothmanfan responds:

    I hope everyone who lost loved ones will be okay. All of us most likely know what its like to lose someone, and its hard.

    Thanks for updating, Coleman!

  14. marksquatch responds:


    It was a hot one today. Survivors report hearing a series of bangs and then it went down in stages. I wonder if those were bolts shattering. Heat expansion might have had something to do with it, but this is not an old bridge, and this isn’t the hottest it gets in the Cities, not by 20 degrees.

    “Series of bangs”? How long until the conspiracies start…

  15. DARHOP responds:

    Wow. Another tragic event. What a horrifying ordeal to go through. My heart and prayers go out to those involved, and their families. Also to the ones working on the situation.

    When I saw this on the news, I’ll be honest, the first thing I thought of was Point Pleasant. Then I thought, I bet Loren posts this on the site. Then I thought, I bet Mothman will be brought up.

    Anyway, again, my prayers go out to all involved in this tragic event.

    And for those that have lost their lives, may the Good Lord welcome you to Heaven with arms wide open.

  16. sschaper responds:

    It is extremely unlikely that anyone would have survived the night submerged. The water will be too cold, cars; too leaky.

    Divers haven’t be let in the water yet, as of 11 a.m., due to fears of structural instability.

    Keeping rescue workers safe and the evidence undisturbed seem to be the priorities at this time.

    There are still spaces protected in the collapse where people could conceivably still be alive, but apparently rescue workers aren’t being allowed to check that out.

    The one video from the security cam that is out doesn’t seem to me to show bumper-to-bumper traffic on the bridge as it went down. It isn’t a clear video, but if so, that would reduce the total loss of life.

    I’m listening to Fox 9 which is a local up in the Cities as I write.

    A number of people did escape from submerged vehicles by rolling down the windows and swimming to the shore. Considering the currents, that is amazing. I would think that some people were knocked unconscious, though, or had electric windows.

    The Lake Street bridge collapsed not that many years ago. I believe that the geological substructure is karst, which makes me wonder if some subsidence might not have occurred.

    The river is low due to the drought, and the sections that went down flat appear to be above the water. However, people report seeing cars fall off the bridge, into the water.

    I would guess that the death toll will be over 20. They’ve been pointing out that unlike a plane crash, there is no passenger manifest. Single people without family that would check on them, could be unreported. Likewise with whole families. Some missing of course might just be taking the chance to get a new life, as with 9/11, but I suspect that nearly all the missing are lost, as well as a few more.

    Apparently Congressman Ellison was exaggerating, only 4 known dead, not the 9 he was reporting.

  17. sschaper responds:

    A cryptozoology link: they are using side-scan sonar to look for cars and bodies, as well as girders, rubble, and rebar for the safety of the dive teams. Side-scan sonar being used these days in hunts for lake monsters.

  18. pandafarmer responds:

    Being a Minneapolis resident, I can confirm it’s been VERY hot here (for MN) in the last few months, with many humid days in the 80s-90s. We’re under a statewide drought as a matter of fact. What they’ve been talking about locally in the media is the idea that this normally 4-5 lane freeway on each side has been shut down to 1-2 lanes due to construction over the last month or two. What is likely to be the cause is the extra lopsided weight that this bridge simply wasn’t built to hold.

  19. Skeptical... responds:

    Actually, 5:04PM Eastern is 4:04PM Central, however, one is EST and the other EDT so, adjusted for Daylight Savings, both collapses did occur at approximately the same time of day.

  20. pandafarmer responds:

    This bridge collapse happened at 6:05 our time. We pulled into the diner at 6pm, and minutes later we heard all of the sirens.

  21. Late Night Visitor responds:

    Residing also from Minneapolis, this is pretty hard hitting right now. A co-worker’s best friend was on the bridge when it happened and managed to swim away, amazingly, and one of the lucky ones. I cant imagine the horror of such a thing happening as youre driving. Thanks for the prayers this way! A quote from the paper displays the grim reality:

    “There’s an individual case where an individual was severely injured and was talking to a medical personnel and was able to say his goodbyes to his family [before] he passed on,” Dolan told a news conference.

  22. Mike Smith responds:

    My god bless the ones lost in this, and look over the families and love ones.


  23. Mothmanfan responds:

    Well a few minutes i was watching the news. They said something about the country checking the bridges that were built the same way. Or something like that. Hopefully there wont be any more collapses like this *knock on wood!*

  24. ToddPartain responds:

    I just happened to call my brother in Missouri few hours after the collapse and I learned of it from him. He and his family used to reside in the Minneapolis area. “Todd, I used to drive over that bridge every day, ……”


  25. harleyb responds:

    Isn’t it weird how things like this tie in together, very tragic to say the least, but thank you Loren for bringing forward the similarities. Most people do not even know of the Silver bridge collapse. It is just so sad. My prayers go out.

  26. Loren Coleman responds:

    For links to recent blogs in the wake of the I-35W Bridge event, just click on these:

    Bridge Collapse: Flashback to 1967;

    Bridge Name Game: Reeves/McDaniel;

    Beyond Mothman: I-35W Blues; and

    The Mothman Prophecies: Silver Bridge Collapse.

Sorry. Comments have been closed.

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