President Joe Biden stopped to look at a Pittsburgh bridge that collapsed just hours before he arrived for a scheduled visit to the city on Friday, dramatically underscoring the urgency of his drive to rebuild the United States' creaky infrastructure.
Visibly moved, Biden gazed across a ravine over the buckled sections of the half-century-old Fern Hollow Bridge, flanked by Pennsylvania and local officials and emergency workers as he surveyed the damage.
"The idea that we have been so far behind on infrastructure, for so many years -- it's just mind-boggling," the president told them.
One emergency worker described the scene after the collapse as loud as a jet engine. Biden praised the work of rescuers, noting a natural gas leak that was not stopped until some 30 minutes after first responders arrived at the scene.
Rescuers rappelled at least 150 feet (46 meters) into Fern Hollow, and used ropes to pull people to safety after the snow-covered span over the ravine collapsed around 6 a.m. (1100 GMT), Pittsburgh Fire Chief Darryl Jones said.