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Cars, People Sent Plunging Into River After Bridge Collapses Near Seattle

Cars, People Sent Plunging Into River After Bridge Collapses Near Seattle

UPDATE 12:43 a.m.: MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) -- Authorities say there were no fatalities when an Interstate 5 bridge over a river north of Seattle collapsed.

The Thursday evening bridge failure dumped vehicles and people into the water.

Marcus Deyerin (DayERin), a spokesman for the Northwest Washington Incident Management team, said there were no fatalities or suspected fatalities. He said three people were rescued from the water and sent to area hospitals. He didn't know the extent of their injuries.

A search of the river continues and a dive team was on scene as well as several rescue boats still on the river.

The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River at Mount Vernon collapsed on Thursday evening, sending cars and people plunging into the water below, KOMO-TV reports. The bridge is just north of Seattle.

Washington State Patrol trooper Mark Francis told KOMO that the northbound and southbound portions of the bridge collapsed into the river at around 7 p.m. Thursday.

Francis also said there were several cars on the bridge when it went down, and many vehicles are now in the river.

Francis said he had no immediate estimate of how many people were in the water or whether there were any injuries or deaths.

He did not know what caused the collapse.






(Photo courtesy of Dan Peterson/KOMO)

(KXLY, Twitter)

A Skagit Valley Herald reporter at the scene said a sheriff's office rescue boat has arrived and rescue crews were looking for people in the water.

The reporter saw one person sitting atop one vehicle in the water and could see a second vehicle as well.

Crowds of people lined the river to watch the scene unfold, the newspaper reported.

Xavier Grospe, 62, who lives near the river, said he could see three cars with what appeared to be one person per vehicle. The vehicles were sitting still in the water, partially submerged and partly above the waterline, and the apparent drivers were sitting either on top of the vehicles or on the edge of open windows.

"It doesn't look like anybody's in danger right now," Grospe said.

Washington state was given a C in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card and a C- when it came to the state's bridges. The group said more than a quarter of Washington's 7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient of functionally obsolete.

This story has been updated. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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