NEW YORK - CNN scored a coup Thursday when a tipster leaked security camera video of the deadly Minnesota bridge collapse.
The stop-action footage - taken by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - showed a middle section of the bridge breaking apart and rapidly plunging into the Mississippi River, raising a cloud of white dust.
It was the most arresting early image of the disaster, along with the pictures of a school bus teetering on a crumpled section of pavement.
CNN has aggressively sought amateur news footage from viewers, and had many shots from the immediate aftermath of the collapse. But on a story like this, the most sought-after footage is the event itself.
It came into CNN shortly before 4 a.m. from a source who asked for anonymity, said Nancy Lane, a CNN senior vice president. "It gives us a better understanding of a moment in time," she said.
The footage came from one of three security cameras that the Army Corps of Engineers has placed alongside the Mississippi River in Minneapolis, said Shannon Bauer, a spokeswoman for the agency. It was the only one to capture an image of the bridge collapse.
No one from the Army Corps of Engineers leaked the footage, she said. The agency had turned over the footage before the leak to Minnesota emergency management officials, she said.
CNN touted the footage as "exclusive" and other networks credited CNN, until later Thursday morning when it was released generally to all news media.