25 May 2013

Highway bridge collapses in northern US

12:39 am on 25 May 2013

Part of a road bridge has collapsed into the Skagit River in the American state of Washington.

Vehicles and people were thrown into the water after a section of the Interstate 5 highway collapsed about 7pm on Thursday (local time).

State officials say three people were rescued and there were no fatalities. Two of the three people were hospitalised with hypothermia.

An out of control truck may have triggered the collapse, Reuters reports.

State patrol chief John R. Batiste says a large truck struck the bridge just before part of it collapsed.

Investigators have been talking to the driver and inspecting the truck.

The four-lane bridge is near Mount Vernon, about half way between the state's main city Seattle and the Canadian city of Vancouver, the BBC reports.

Images showed a section of the bridge in the river with cars partly submerged. In one image taken shortly after the collapse a person was seen sitting on top of a car.

A rescue operation swung into action with rescue boats searching for people in the river.

Helicopter footage showed divers at the scene with several ambulances waiting on the riverbank. Floodlights were brought in as darkness fell.