More victims identified Thursday

  • Article by: DAVID CHANEN, CURT BROWN and MARY LYNN SMITH
  • Updated: August 10, 2007 - 10:24 AM

All three of the bodies pulled from the river Thursday have been identified. They are Peter Hausmann, 47, of Rosemount, Minn. and Sadiya Sahal, 23, of St. Paul and her 22-month-old daughter, Hana.

A 47-year-old man who apparently tried to rescue people nearby after his van plunged into the Mississippi River when the Interstate 35W bridge collapsed was among three victims pulled from the wreckage Thursday.

Peter Hausmann, a father of four from Rosemount, survived the collapse and escaped from his van into the murky, turbulent waters, according to a source involved with the investigation. In the resulting chaos, he apparently swam toward victims in another vehicle in an attempt to render assistance, the source said.

Hausmann's body was recovered late on Thursday morning, according to the Hennepin County medical examiner.

Divers found the remains of two other people, Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said Thursday evening. The source indicated that the other remains were those of Sadiya Sahal, 23, of St. Paul and her 22-month-old daughter, Hana.

Meanwhile at 1:15 p.m. today, U. S. Secretary Of Transportation Mary Peters will visit the Metro Transit bus garage in Minneapolis to announce new federal support for transit operations designed to deal with the collapse.

While some families received grim news Thursday, police chaplains and mental health workers began the delicate job of informing waiting families that only partial remains of their loved ones might be recovered.

"That's difficult to try to discuss with the families. They hope their loved ones will be recovered and they can have a burial or memorial," Minneapolis police Capt. Mike Martin said.

The county medical examiner, Andrew Baker, said Thursday that officials are collecting dental records and other information from families to try to make identifying remains easier, though he said that it may become more difficult to positively identify remains after they have been in the water for so many days.

Hausmann spent about three years doing missionary work in Kenya and maintained ties to Africa, working on AIDS projects and building a church. If he was trying to rescue someone, it would be typical of Hausmann's selflessness, his friends and co-workers said. "Pete is the type of guy who would do anything to help someone," said Jeff Olejnik, Hausmann's boss at Assurity River Group in St. Paul.

Another friend echoed that sentiment. "That would be Pete," said Gerry Fisher, a friend and former co-worker of Hausmann. "If there was a last act of Pete on this Earth, that certainly would be consistent [with who he was]."

Hausmann's empty van was pulled from the river on Sunday.

A Somali community leader, Abdisalam Adam, spoke to Sahal's father, who confirmed that Hana's body had been recovered and that the medical examiner was still trying to scientifically identify the mother's remains. On Thursday night, a Sahal family member declined to comment, but said: "It is time for grieving."

The death toll now stands at eight from last week's collapse. The list of the confirmed missing now includes Christine Sacorafas, 45, of White Bear Lake; Vera Peck, 50, and her son Richard Chit, 20, both of Bloomington; Greg Jolstad, 45, of Mora, and Scott Sathers, 29, of Maple Grove.

Victim, wife met in Africa

Hausmann, a South Dakota native, was a devoted father, working long hours in his job as a computer consultant at Assurity River Group but finding time to shuttle his children to their activities, said Patrick Schreier, a close friend of 15 years. He met his wife, Helen, in Kenya in the 1980s, where he taught at a mission school.

"They were a family who used the dining room all the time. ... Whenever you went over there, you would plan to stay for dinner because you would always be invited," Schreier said.

Fisher said he didn't doubt that his friend would have helped someone at his own peril. "When times would get tough, he was the one you would want on the front line. ... So if he saw someone in distress, I have no doubt at all that he would reach out and try to go that extra step, even if it put himself at risk."

  • related content

  • Graphic: Construction zone in the hours before the collapse

    Monday November 26, 2007

    Construction zone in the hours before the collapse

  • Graphic: A look at bridge construction and other Minnesota bridges

    Wednesday August 8, 2007

    The interstate 35W bridge in Minneapolis is classified as a "nonredundant" bridge. Here's a look...

  • Audio: Remembering Sherry Engebretsen

    Wednesday August 8, 2007

    After the funeral of Sherry Engebretsen on Tuesday, her friends and friends of the familiy...

  • Bridge took heavy toll, but not on her dreams

    Thursday August 9, 2007

    The 35W disaster has put life on hold for a Minneapolis teen, but her mom says she's a "glass half-full kind of kid."

  • After a disaster, charities shift into high gear

    Friday August 10, 2007

    Knowing how to get aid or make wise donations can be a hurdle after a traumatic event.

  • Kayaker found; no homeless perished

    Friday August 10, 2007

    A kayaker who was on the Mississippi River at the time of the I-35W collapse has contacted authorities, Minneapolis police said Thursday. Investigators had asked for the media's help in...

  • Possible flaw identified in I-35W bridge design

    Thursday August 9, 2007

    Federal officials concentrate on a possible design flaw and warn bridge engineers nationwide to watch weight of construction work.

  • JERRY HOLT ¥jgholt@startribune.com 8/9/2007---Officials carry the body of victim up the embankment on the north side of the river around 12:30pm on Thursday. The body was taken of a boat and transported by the medical examiner. Bridge Collapse

  • Peter Hausmann, of Rosemount, was on the 35W bridge when it collapsed. His body was recovered from the river on Thursday.

  • Friends and family gathered to bid farewell with balloons to bridge collapse victim Sherry Engebretsen at Incarnation Lutheran Church in Shoreview, Minn.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions

ADVERTISEMENT

Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close