When the Minneapolis Interstate 35-West bridge began to crumble on Wednesday, among the volunteers who rushed to the scene to help were a married couple who were shocked to hear the news.
"I thought, 'No way, I was just on that bridge 20 minutes ago,'" Christine Lund said. "There's no way that it collapsed."
Her husband, Nate Lund, suggested they go and offer help to the victims. But Christine Lund said she thought, "What? Us? What can we do?'"
Actually, the newlyweds could do a lot: He is a fourth-year dental student at the University of Minnesota, and she is a nurse who works with respiratory patients.
"We grabbed our medical supplies, stethoscopes and ran as fast as we could to the car," Nate Lund said.
When they reached the bridge, he said they "quickly understood the gravity of the situation … the twisted steel, the cars flipped on fire, the walking wounded."
Volunteers Team Up
To get to the injured, the newlyweds had to drive, run and even take a boat across the Mississippi, and then get right to work.
"I had my stethoscope, so I initially just started going -- listened to lungs and stuff because there were a lot of back injuries and rib injuries," Christine Lund said.
Her husband received a lot of general medical education in dental school, so they were able to evaluate victims, ease pain and get them out of the danger zone.
"The biggest thing was we needed to get people out quickly because there's not much we can do on scene. It's really dusty, it's really hot and those people need to get out of there," Nate Lund said. "We called over some people -- good Samaritans with pickup trucks -- and we started loading them in the back of pickup trucks as fast as we could."
For the Lunds, choosing whether or not to rush to the scene and volunteer Wednesday evening was not even a question.
"We have some medical skills; we're definitely not physicians, but we could be used just with the skills that we did have -- so don't ever think that you can't be of some use," Christine Lund said. "Just help out your neighbor, because when you're in trouble, they'll come help you."
Christine plans to continue her work healing children with respiratory problems, and Nate, who is on a military scholarship, will become an Army officer when he graduates next spring.