No fatalities in Washington state bridge interstate collapse

The I-5 bridge over the Skagit River collapsed Thursday (Photo: KING / Tiffany Riley Matson)

Police say there are no fatalities after cars fell into a Washington river after an Interstate 5 bridge collapsed north of Seattle Thursday night.

Washington State Patrol told affiliate KING-TV the bridge over the Skagit River collapsed around 7 p.m. PDT. At least two cars with people inside fell into the water below.

Marcus Deyerin, 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.

A police spokesman later said none of the injuries were life-threatening.  Speaking from an area hospital after receiving treatment, one of the men rescued from the two vehicles that fell into the river said he and his wife were behind a truck that struck the bridge girders before the collapse.  
A search of the river has wrapped up after a dive team was on scene, as well as several rescue boats.

The Skagit Valley Herald reports that crowds of people lined the river to watch the scene unfold.

Other witnesses described to KING-TV how the truck carrying an oversized load struck the bridge shortly before the collapse.

"I saw the truck strike the right corner of the bridge. It almost tipped the truck over but it came back down. It tipped it up to about a 30 degree angle to the left and it came back down on its wheels and almost instantaneously behind that I saw girders falling in my rearview mirror," said witness Dale Ogden.

Police have located the truck that struck the bridge and have spoken to the driver as part of their ongoing investigation.  They have determined that the wide load was in the right lane while another semi was in the left lane as they entered the bridge.

The bridge is about 60 miles north of Seattle, near Mount Vernon, Washington.

Police have asked that people stay away from the scene since normal traffic will now be concentrating on the two remaining bridges in the area while the I-5 bridge is repaired.

KING-TV coverage