The Skagit River Bridge in northwest Washington state collapsed shortly before 7 PM PDT, a busy time that sent multiple vehicles and their drivers spilling into the water below.
Sixty-two-year-old witness Xavier Grospe told local news station KomoNews that he could see three drivers sitting on top of their fallen cars before their rescue.
The water was fairly shallow at the time and didn’t completely submerge the wrecked vehicles, which included a red car and a pickup.
All three victims have now been rescued. They’re being treated at nearby hospitals, where they are said to be in stable condition. Fortunately, no one was killed.
The 1955 bridge wasn’t considered structurally deficient, despite an earlier report saying that it was. It is listed as functionally deficient, which means that it has an out-of-date design. However, it should have been safe for the amount of traffic it carried.
Several witnesses to the Skagit River Bridge collapse are telling local news reporters that an overloaded semi-truck hit several beams shortly before it went down. Dale Ogden told King 5 that:
“I saw it. I was less than 50 feet away from the truck…I had just passed it in the fast lane southbound and it had an oversized load…It was in the slow lane when I came by…I was behind the flag car and in front of the truck in the other lane and I saw the whip – normally tells you how high they can clear – start hitting the bridge. I looked in my rearview mirror knowing this was not going to turn out well.”
Although the allegedly overloaded truck left the scene, KomoNews said the unnamed driver has now been found and is reportedly cooperating with authorities.
Washington State Department of Transportation official Travis Phelps said that they’re already in touch with contractors to repair the bridge, but it’s too soon to put on a date on when it will be back in operation. “Don’t expect this to be fixed by Monday,” he warned.
Here’s a tweet of the truck that allegedly caused the collapse:
— Tim Williams (@TimWilliamsCBS) May 24, 2013
But some people still have questions:
@timwilliamscbs @robpiercy It looks empty and open from the side. They were saying it was an oversize load. Am I seeing that right?
— Siri (@SLSiri) May 24, 2013
— Andrew Kaczynski (@BuzzFeedAndrew) May 24, 2013
Clearly, it’s still early in the investigation, and we don’t yet know the whole story behind the Skagit River Bridge collapse.
[Skagit River Bridge Collapse photo by friend of Anna at KXLY 4 News via Twitter]