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Okla. Bridge Death Toll Rises to 9

May 28, 2002

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WEBBERS FALLS, Okla. (AP) _ The death toll from an interstate bridge collapse rose to nine when rescuers hoisted a pickup truck with two bodies from the silty Arkansas River, authorities said Tuesday.

The bodies of five women and four men had been recovered from the waters below the Interstate 40 bridge by late Monday, said Lt. Chris West of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol. With the help of sonar, a crane had hoisted eight vehicles from a mangled pile of concrete and twisted steel.

Rain and lightning Tuesday morning kept rescuers from going back into the water to look for an unknown number of people still missing, West said. The river was rising and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers said it would have to release water from upstream reservoirs if the rain didn’t let up.

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