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Interstate bridge collapses near Seattle, dumping vehicles into the river

No fatalities were initially reported in the collapse. Many of the drivers were able to get out of their vehicles.

Rick Lund/The Seattle Times via ap

No fatalities were initially reported in the collapse. Many of the drivers were able to get out of their vehicles.

MOUNT VERNON, Wash. — An Interstate 5 bridge collapsed into a river north of Seattle Thursday evening, dumping vehicles and people into the water, the Washington State Patrol said. There were no deaths or suspected deaths, officials said.

Three people were rescued from the water and sent to hospitals, said Marcus Deyerin, a spokesman for the Northwest Washington Incident Management team. He didn’t know the extent of their injuries.

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A search of the river continued and a dive team was on scene.

The four-lane bridge over the Skagit River collapsed about 7 p.m., Trooper Mark Francis said. It also was not known what caused the collapse. The bridge is about 60 miles north of Seattle in Skagit County.

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 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.

Helicopter footage showed several rescue boats at the scene with ambulances waiting on the shore. One rescue boat left with one person strapped into a stretcher. A red car and a pickup truck were visible in the water, which appeared so shallow it barely reached the top of the car’s hood.

The bridge was not considered structurally deficient. It was built in 1955 and has a sufficiency rating of 57.4 out of 100, according to federal records. That is well below the statewide average rating of 80, according to an Associated Press analysis of federal data, but 759 bridges in the state have a lower score.

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