(USA TODAY) -- The Interstate 5 bridge over the Skagit River in northern Washington
state collapsed Thursday evening, sending vehicles and people into the
water, the state patrol said.
Trooper Mark Francis told USA Today that two lanes in both directions collapsed.
cause was known at this time, he said, and it was unknown how many
vehicles were in the water or if there were deaths or injuries.
Interstate 5 is closed in both directions now, he said.
collapse occurred around 7 p.m. PT, he said. The location is near Mount
Vernon, Wash., in Skagit County, about an hour's drive north of
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 Associated Press reported. 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.
aired video from a helicopter showing the collapsed bridge with
rescuers working from shore and a motorboat to search for people.
A truck and automobile could be seen in the water on the collapsed bridge section.
river did not appear to be deep or fast-flowing at the time of the
collapse. KOMO said the depth appeared to be about 10 feet.
KOMO reported that at least two people were taken to a hospital.
The bridge is the main route for traffic between the Seattle metro area and Vancouver, Canada.
Seattle Times reported that bridge was built in 1955 and was classified
by the National Bridge Inventory as "functionally obsolete" in both
2000 and 2010. But it said the Washington Department of Transportation
does not list it among its list of "structurally deficient bridges."
Contributing: Associated Press