Updated at 9:20 p.m.

Emergency response officials say no one has died, but divers are still searching the Skagit River for possible survivors after the Skagit River Bridge between Burlington and Mount Vernon collapsed this evening.

Meantime, the state Department of Transportation says its engineers looking into an oversized, overheight vehicle striking a critical portion of the bridge span, spokesman Travis Phelps said.

Traffic is being diverted from northbound Interstate 5 at Kincaid Street in Mount Vernon, and southbound to Highway 20.

Shortly after the north-most span of the bridge collapsed around 7 p.m., emergency crews flocked to the area, where several vehicles and their passengers were in the river.

A pickup truck pulling a travel trailer and a passenger vehicle fell into the water, and its occupants were rescued by first-responders.

Three rescue boats, several private vessels and divers showed up at the scene. Crowds of people are still lining both sides of the river, watching the rescuers.

Witnesses said they saw three people pulled from the river, and they were taken by ambulance from the scene on stretchers.

When rescuers pulled one man from the roof of his car to dry land, people watching applauded.

Daryl Hamburg, manager of operations for Dike District 12, said cell phones are not working at the moment except for texts. Hamburg said people are everywhere.

“I’m not sure if anybody’s hurt,” Hamburg said. “It’s hard to explain It’s a spectacle."

Businesses and residents in the area told a reporter that their power flickered at the time, possibly from the impact of the collapse.

One man, who had just crossed the bridge shortly before it collapsed, told a reporter he felt a vibration and looked in his rear view mirror to see that the section of bridge he had just crossed was no longer behind him.

"I thought something was wrong with my car at first," the man told the reporter about feeling the vibration.

He said people should be worried about those in the water.

"I'm here," he said, pointing to the water, and added, "they're dead. That's what I'm more worried about."

Cliff Butler, Skagit County manager of roads and operations, said he has crew members standing by if agencies need flaggers.

Skagit County Commissioner Sharon Dillon is headed to the county’s Emergency Operations Center now, Butler said.

The National Transportation Safety Board tweeted that the agency is investigating the collapse.

The bridge, built in 1955, was considered structurally deficient in 1992, and functionally obsolete in 2000 and 2010, according to the National Bridge Inventory.


- Kate Martin, Gina Cole and Lynsi Burton contributed to this report.

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(1) comment


It's good that no one died, but I hope someone made it a high priority mission to figure out how to make the bridge safer. Then again, assuming it really was someone driving a vehicle that was too tall, I guess you can't fix stupid :)

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