A two-lane bridge collapsed in Pittsburgh early Friday, prompting rescuers to rappel nearly 150 feet while others formed a human chain to help rescue multiple people from a dangling bus.
The collapse came hours before President Joe Biden was to visit the city to press for his $1 trillion infrastructure bill, which includes bridge maintenance.
"@POTUS has been told of the bridge collapse in Pittsburgh," White House press secretary Jen Psaki tweeted. "Our team is in touch with state and local officials on the ground as they continue to gather information about the cause of the collapse."
"@POTUS is grateful to the first responders who rushed to assist the drivers who were on the bridge at the time," she added in an ensuing tweet. "The president will proceed with trip planned for today and will stay in touch with officials on the ground about additional assistance we can provide."
There were minor injuries from the collapse but no fatalities, said authorities, who also said they were flying drones to make sure no one is under any collapsed sections.
Police reported the span, on Forbes Avenue over Fern Hollow Creek in Frick Park, came down just before 7 a.m.
A photo from the scene showed a commuter bus upright on a section of the collapsed bridge.
A KDKA television photo showed several vehicles piled in the rubble of the collapsed roadway at the bottom of a wooded gully.
City officials said the collapse caused a gas leak but the gas has since been shut off.
Pittsburgh Bureau of Fire Chief Darryl Jones said three or four vehicles were involved in the collapse and there were 10 minor injuries with three brought to the hospital. None of the injuries were life-threatening, Jones said.
Authorities told motorists to avoid the area.
"It sounded like a snow plow," a witness told KDKA, calling the timing on the day of Biden's visit "an amazing coincidence."
In Pittsburgh, the Democrat president will tour Mill 19, a former steel mill building now serving as a research and development hub, before hailing the U.S. economy's strong recovery from the pandemic, the White House said.
"The president will talk about the remarkable economic progress we’ve made over his first year in office — including the fastest single year of job growth in American history, the biggest unemployment drop on record and, as we learned on Thursday, the fastest economic growth in 2021 in almost four decades," a White House official said.
Biden, returning to the site of his first campaign event in 2019, will tout the creation of 367,000 manufacturing jobs since he took office one year ago, and passage of a $1 trillion infrastructure bill — a rare bipartisan victory in a deeply divided U.S. Congress.
The president also plans to talk about his push to rebuild American competitiveness and beat China in a race to dominate the global economy, the official said.
In recent days, General Motors said it would invest $7 billion in Michigan to expand electric vehicle production and Intel said it would invest up to $100 billion to build a chip-maker in Ohio.
Mill 19 is home to Carnegie Mellon University's Manufacturing Futures Institute, and hosts a robotics laboratory and a technology training site.
Information from The Associated Press and Reuters were used in this report.
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