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Old 08-13-07, 06:59 PM   #1
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Update - My Salvage Diving Work On The Minneapolis Bridge These Last 12 Days

Hello All,

I am back to tell you a little of my last 12 days. As I mentioned in a previous posting I have been employed as a contracted salvage diver to work on recovery operations at the Minneapolis bridge collapse over the Mississippi river. I must start by saying that I cannot give any exacting details as I have signed a legal document agreeing to not divulge any crucial information until the investigation process has ended. That will probably take a year. I cannot comment on theoretical causes of the collapse or the like. I leave that to the investigators. They are doing a great job and are being very diligent to uncover every detail, document it, and follow through with thorough investigation. I firmly believe they will do their absolute best to determine what went wrong and provide great feedback to help prevent this from happening elsewhere.

I worked for 12 days and now am enjoying 6 days off. I will return to duty on 19AUG07. The diving conditions were very frightening. Almost zero visibility with broken concrete from the size of small buildings all the way down to dust. More re-bar than I ever knew existed in the entire world. Smashed cars filled with silt and in some cases even dead bodies. One of our divers on my team almost died when he became entangled in debris. Thankfully he got out OK. The bridge wreckage still continues to “bleed” fine concrete dust into the water. If you look at a top down shot you can see this. The downriver side of the bridge has a trailing of brownish powder suspended in the water while the upriver side is much clearer. We worked hard to get vehicles lifted out. Strapping crane lift harnesses to vehicles. We pulled out and moved heavy bridge debris as well. They are doing a great job of taking pictures of EVERYTHING. If there are any facts out there they will find them. I would once again please ask you to pray for the victims and their families. There are family members that I saw every single day at the shore looking on to see if their loved one’s vehicle came up. They hold no illusions about finding their loved ones alive but they need some sense of closure and peace.
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Old 08-13-07, 07:05 PM   #2
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Hey, baybuh, I've been thinkin' about you every day. Serious. And I've been hopin' you're holdin' up ok. I can imagine that what you're doing is traumatic, and, if ever a person had a reason to get "lost," you do. However, based on what we Foo'ers know about you, I hope you are remaining strong, and talkin' with your sponsor often. We are here for you, friend. Almost anytime day or night, someone is here. You have our Foo love and support any time.

Honest and pure simple.

Thanks for your report, and I hope you will post again soon.
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Old 08-13-07, 07:11 PM   #3
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Thanks for your help on the bridge. I'm sure it not's easy to be called on a moments notice to work on such a difficult recovery effort.

I heard on the news that the recent rainfall made Mississippi run faster and was preventing the dive crews from working but it sounded like they had a plan to slow the river using the locks. Was this a problem for your dive?

Did you work with the Navy's team that is on the site?
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Old 08-13-07, 07:16 PM   #4
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200, be safe and careful, my best wishes for you in this terrible job!
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Old 08-13-07, 07:24 PM   #5
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Sounds terrifying, 200 Feet. I saw some photos in today's paper of crews lifting a school bus off the bridge. Looks like it'll be a real active area for a long time. Good luck and thanks for checking in.
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Old 08-13-07, 07:40 PM   #6
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Thanks for the kind wishes. I will be able to post for my off duty time. Right now I am headling off to bed but I will check back tomorrow.
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Old 08-13-07, 07:57 PM   #7
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A friend of mine does salvage diving as well. I sent some feelers out to see if he is working this disaster.
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Old 08-13-07, 08:32 PM   #8
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Thanks for sharing. Enjoy your time off, and be safe out there.
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Old 08-13-07, 09:04 PM   #9
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I've been thinking and praying for you and your comrades- as well as the families- too. Glad to hear you're safe and sound!
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Old 08-14-07, 07:20 AM   #10
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Stay safe out there in those tough conditions while working. Enjoy your 6 days off!
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Old 08-14-07, 07:32 AM   #11
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Thank you for all of your heroic efforts. ((hugs))

This is now the time for you to rest and rejuvinate yourself. Spend time with your family, reflect upon yourself, your impact on life and to remember how you mean so much to those around you as well as those who await patiently at the bridge. Take the time out to appreciate yourself, just like we appreciate you. Celebrate YOU. Sleep. Eat right. Go ride your bike.

You will feel refreshed. You will feel ready to continue....
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Old 08-14-07, 12:08 PM   #12
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Get ready for the shortest 6 days of your life...

I think everyone here at Foo is behind you, ready to support you with whatever Footasticness we can provide you with.
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Old 08-14-07, 12:20 PM   #13
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Great work 200 - please take care of yourself!

Are they offering counseling services to help decompress afterwards? If so please partake - what you've seen will stay with you for a while, the more you can diffuse it now the better.
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Old 08-14-07, 12:35 PM   #14
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That sure is some job!!!

There is a crew, complete with divers here right at this very moment - inspecting two of our bridges made with the same design.
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Old 08-14-07, 12:49 PM   #15
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Still praying for you and the families of those lost in that incident.
Be careful.
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Old 08-14-07, 01:11 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by 200 Feet Below View Post
....There are family members that I saw every single day at the shore looking on to see if their loved one’s vehicle came up. They hold no illusions about finding their loved ones alive but they need some sense of closure and peace.
That just broke my heart. How very difficult for you. Hope you get some good rest.
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Old 08-14-07, 05:48 PM   #17
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Thank you for reminding us that, while the rest of the world moves on, the disaters of the world do not go away slowly, if ever, for some. You have my thanks and respect for the important and often unsung work you are doing. It takes a special breed.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:27 PM   #18
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A friend of mine does salvage diving as well. I sent some feelers out to see if he is working this disaster.
What is his name? PM me if you like. I can help you find out.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:34 PM   #19
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Great work 200 - please take care of yourself!

Are they offering counseling services to help decompress afterwards? If so please partake - what you've seen will stay with you for a while, the more you can diffuse it now the better.
I am sure you mean to help us mentally and emotionally adjust from the issues we experience. When you use the word "decompress" I automatically think of venting off notrogen from my system so I don't get DCS. (Decompression Sickness) The deepest depth I hit was 28 feet with my chest right on the bottom in a hole. I don't know if there are any specific programs dedicated towards the divers but there are programs provided for all those impacted which would include me. In all honesty I don't need to sit in therapy over this. I am just very happy to be the lucky SOB that I am in this life. I am happy and lucky. What more could I ask for in life?
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Old 08-14-07, 07:40 PM   #20
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Thank you for reminding us that, while the rest of the world moves on, the disaters of the world do not go away slowly, if ever, for some. You have my thanks and respect for the important and often unsung work you are doing. It takes a special breed.
Thank you for you great wishes. But I must correct you on one item. Those that do what I do are exactly like you and your friends. We are not all that special. I am sure you could do it too. Better to realize how giving and dedicated we all are at our collective cores. At least the good people. That is by far the majority of us. God Bless.
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Old 08-14-07, 07:56 PM   #21
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And I thought working with Asbestos sucked

That must really, really be an aweful job. I tear apart buildings all day, but not underwater with dead bodies and things in the mix. You have my respect and admiration for doing it.
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Old 08-15-07, 12:45 AM   #22
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Thanks for the update. Stay safe out there and keep up the good work. We're still praying.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:18 AM   #23
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What is his name? PM me if you like. I can help you find out.
He is working in Green Bay this week on an environmental cleanup. Says that he'll be back on Friday.

Anyway, I thought it may be a small enough world that you know him. His name is Chuck and his nickname is 'Nails'.
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Old 08-15-07, 10:31 AM   #24
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Be safe man.
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Old 08-15-07, 11:34 AM   #25
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200, I admire what you do and really respect you for doing it. Good on you...and Blessings..
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