Skagit River Bridge Collapse: I-5 Closed Near Mount Vernon

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A bridge on the I-5 over the Skagit River between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle, Wash. collapsed Thursday. (AP)
A bridge on the I-5 over the Skagit River between Vancouver, B.C. and Seattle, Wash. collapsed Thursday. (AP)

An Interstate-5 bridge in Washington state has been shut down after a part of it collapsed, sending cars and people into the Skagit River on Thursday.

The I-5 Skagit River bridge is located 90 minutes south of Vancouver, B.C., between Burlington and Mount Vernon, Wash.

The incident happened around 7 p.m., Washington State Patrol confirm. Traffic has been stopped in both directions of the highway near the bridge.

UPDATE: 2013-05-24 - The I-5 between Burlington and Mount Vernon is completely closed, News1130 reports.

The trucker has been identified as William Scott of Spruce Grove, Alberta, The Vancouver Sun reports.

"It doesn't look like anybody's in danger right now," said nearby resident Xavier Grospe to ABC News.

At least three rescue boats were deployed to reach a semi-submerged car and truck, reported Komo News.

Two men and one woman were rescued from the water. All are in stable condition with non-life-threatening injuries at area hospitals, reported the Associated Press.

It remains unclear how both north and southbound roadways fell into the river. Washington State Patrol is targeting a truck driver whose heavy load caused him to strike the bridge, which may have led to the collapse, News1130 reported.

Prior to the collapse, the bridge was named on a state “structurally deficient” list. The classification means structural repair or replacement is needed.

As of February 2013, Washington state identified 135 state-owned bridges as structurally deficient.

Travellers planning to drive along the I-5 to attend Sasquatch festival are being advised to choose alternate routes. The festival runs May 24-27.

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