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Commuters in disbelief after I-5 bridge collapses

Spectators line the banks of the Skagit River Thursday night following a bridge collapse. (KIRO Radio/Brandi Kruse)

Hundreds of people lined the banks of the Skagit River Thursday evening to witness three people being rescued after a section of I-5 collapsed.

Many in the crowd drive over the four-lane bridge at least once per day. Some even crossed it moments before it collapsed.

"I was driving home from work and I pulled off the exit right before. The bridge was still up. I pulled off the exit, went to the store, came back out and the bridge was down," Hannah Morrison of Mt. Vernon told KIRO Radio. "I drove home slowly on Riverside, but I immediately got on my bike and came back because I was shocked."

Morrison said she never imagined something like this could happen.

"I've never thought about it. It never occurred to me. I don't think about a bridge collapsing under me," she said.

"It's amazing. There are no words. You don't even think about driving over it. It seems stable," said Kiralee Harrison, who drives over the bridge everyday.

"She's pretty hysterical," said Rebecca Woolman, whose sister had just crossed the bridge right before it collapsed.

Woolman's husband, Caleb, said he crosses the bridge nearly four times per day. They live about a mile away and said they see a lot of accidents on the interstate.

"It's not something you see every day," said Jimmy O'Connor, the owner of two local pizza restaurants who was driving on another bridge parallel to the one that collapsed. "People were starting to crawl out of their cars."

He said he and his girlfriend were about 400 yards away on the Burlington Bridge when they heard "just a loud bang."

"Then we looked over and saw the bridge was down in the water," he said.

He pulled over and saw three vehicles in the water, including a camping trailer that landed upside-down, he said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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