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The Interstate 5 Bridge over the Skagit River in Washington state collapsed around 7 p.m. on Thursday, dumping cars and people into the water, KIRO-TV reported.
According to the Trooper Mark Francis, public information officer for the Washington State Patrol, both north and southbound lanes of the interstate were affected.
Here's an aerial image of the collapsed I-5 Bridge from Air 4 twitter.com/komonews/statu…— KOMO News (@komonews) May 24, 2013
At least three cars were on the span when it fell into the river. Rescue teams are currently searching the water for survivors.
Several people have been spotted sitting on their submerged cars, waiting for help. First responders have already pulled one man off the roof of his vehicle, prompting nearby eyewitnesses to applaud, The Skagit Valley Herald reported.
There was no immediate word on injuries. Cause of the collapse is unknown at this time.
Drivers are being advised to avoid the area. The freeway has also been closed, Northwest Cable News reported.
RT @jonhumbert: ON SCENE: up close view of bridge collapse: twitter.com/jonhumbert/sta… #I5brdgecollape #SkagitBridge— KOMO News (@komonews) May 24, 2013
The 1,111-ft. Skagit River Bridge is located between Burlington and Mt. Vernon, about 60 miles north of Seattle. Built in 1955, BridgeHunter.com notes that the four-lane structure sees an average daily traffic of about 71,000.
Bart Treece with the Washington State Department of Transportation told KOMO News that he was unsure when the bridge was last inspected.
"All of our bridges in the area are pretty old," he said.
One in nine of the nation's bridges has been rated as structurally deficient, the American Society of Civil Engineers 2013 Report Card for America's Infrastructure reported. The Seattle chapter of the ASCE awarded the state's bridges a C- grade.
The Federal Highway Administration estimates that it would cost $20.5 billion a year to eliminate the country's bridge deficient backlog by 2028.
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MOUNT VERNON, Wash. (AP) — An Interstate 5 bridge over a river north of Seattle collapsed Thursday evening, dumping vehicles and people into the water.
There was no immediate estimate of how many people were in the water or whether there were any injuries or deaths. Trooper Mark Francis said a portion of the four-lane bridge over the Skagit River collapsed about 7 p.m.
Kari Ranten, a spokeswoman for Skagit Valley Hospital, said two people who were injured in the collapse were en route to the facility. She said another person was being transported to a different area hospital.
It also was not known what caused the collapse of the bridge about 60 miles north of Seattle in Skagit County, which stretches from the North Cascades National Park to a cluster of islands off the Washington coast.
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 sitting still in the water, 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 aired by KOMO-TV in Seattle showed several rescue boats at the bridge collapse scene with several ambulances waiting on the shore. One rescue boat left the scene with one person strapped into a stretcher.
A damaged red car and a damaged pickup truck were visible in the water, which appeared so shallow it barely reached the top of the car's hood.
Crowds of people lined the river to watch the scene unfold.
"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 bridge is not considered structurally deficient but is listed as being "functionally obsolete" - a category meaning that their design is outdated, such as having narrow shoulders are low clearance underneath, according to a database compiled by the Federal Highway Administration.
The bridge 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 sufficiency score.
According to a 2012 Skagit County Public Works Department, 42 of the county's 108 bridges that are 50 years or older. The document says eight of the bridges are more than 70 years old and two are over 80.
Washington state was given a C in the American Society of Civil Engineers' 2013 infrastructure report card and a C- when it came to the state's bridges. The group said more than a quarter of Washington's 7,840 bridges are considered structurally deficient of functionally obsolete.
Baker reported from Olympia, Wash. Associated Press writer Terry Tang in Phoenix also contributed to this report.
If you live in or near Oklahoma, you might want to check your email.
Reddit user jargo1 shared a message from the Sears Holdings Corporation that turned up in his inbox today. The letter offered $20 to help cope with damage from this week's tornadoes.
The email reads:
In the wake of the recent tornadoes in your area, I want to extend a hand during this difficult time on behalf of Sears Holdings Corporation.
We have added $20 in free points (20,000 points) to your Shop Your Way Rewards account. Please use them toward whatever supplies you need from Sears or Kmart through 5/29/2013. It's a small gesture to help our Shop Your Way Rewards members.
Thank you, and stay safe.
The email also cropped up on a Slick Deals forum where rewards members said they got anywhere from $5 to $15 from the company -- even though some live nowhere close to the disaster zone.
Several other corporations, like Home Depot and Walmart, also found ways to help out when Superstorm Sandy struck the Northeast.
Read more on how you can help the tornado victims here.
NEW YORK — Procter & Gamble Co. is bringing back its former CEO, as the world's largest consumer-products maker tries to spur global growth.
In a surprise move, P&G said Thursday that former CEO A.G. Lafley, a 33-year industry veteran, is returning to the Cincinnati company's helm.
Lafley, 65, replaces CEO Bob McDonald, effective immediately. McDonald, who will retire June 30 after a transition period, has served as CEO since 2009.
Lafley, who led P&G from 2000 to 2009, also is taking the president and chairman titles.
The 175-year-old company's Tide detergent, Crest toothpaste and other products can be found in 98 percent of American households. But it is struggling to grow under increased competition and global economic challenges.
In his first stint at the helm, Lafley helped right an ailing P&G, emphasizing innovation and a "consumer-is-boss" focus. That included spending more time in personal observation and interviews with consumers.
He also pulled off the blockbuster $57 million acquisition of the Gillette Co. in 2005, expanding P&G's reach into male-oriented products with Gillette's shavers and razors. Industry watchers say the company is looking for Lafley to work his magic once again.
"A.G.'s track record and his depth of experience at P&G make him uniquely qualified to lead the company forward at this important time," said board director Jim McNerney in a statement.
P&G is known for its premium products that cost more than competitors but are perceived by customers to be of higher quality. But growth for the company has slowed in developed markets like North America and Europe.
Like many of its rivals, P&G has been expanding into rapidly growing emerging markets such as Latin America, India and Russia. But there, it has faced tough competition from already entrenched smaller rivals such as Dutch consumer-product maker Unilever and Colgate-Palmolive.
In order to spur growth, P&G has been cutting costs and rolling out new products. The company is in the middle of a belt-tightening plan aimed at saving $10 billion by 2016. And it has introduced new products or brand expansions including Tide Pods single-use laundry pellets, Downy Unstopables, a washer sheet that adds scent to clothes, and a stronger version of Secret deodorant called Clinical Strength.
But investors have continued to be frustrated by the company's slow revenue growth and stagnant market share gains globally. The pressure stepped up last July, when activist investor William Ackman took a 1 percent stake. He has been vocal about the company's need to streamline operations and improve results.
"It sounds like the board needed a change at the top," said Bernstein analyst Ali Dibadj. "We thought maybe there would be a little bit more of a test runway for current management, but clearly, frustration was very high."
P&G last year acknowledged that it had made missteps in some emerging markets – which make up nearly 40 percent of its sales – when it expanded in some product areas too quickly. And it introduced a plan to focus on its 20 biggest new products and its 10 most-profitable emerging markets, which has led to improving market share.
The moves seemed to be working.
In P&G's most recent January-to-March quarter, net income rose 6 percent to $2.57 billion, as revenue inched up 2 percent to $20.6 billion. But that fell slightly short of analysts' expectations of $20.72 billion. It had also begun to gain market share in North America. But fourth-quarter guidance was below expectations as the company spent more to market new products.
Lafley said the board approached him "very recently" after McDonald decided to retire and asked him to reclaim the top spot.
"Frankly, duty called," he said in an interview with The Associated Press. "I'm back, I'm full on."
His first order of business, he said, will be to stay on the strategic course that the company has been implementing, focusing on core developed markets as well as developing markets, introducing new products and cutting costs.
"I spent nearly 33 years at this company, and the company has got some momentum right now," he said.
The board thanked McDonald, who joined the company in 1980, for his service.
"Under his leadership, the company expanded its business in developing markets, built a strong innovation pipeline, and has made substantial progress implementing a $10 billion cost savings and productivity program," McNerney said. McDonald could not immediately be reached.
P&G's shares rose 54 cents to $79.24 in aftermarket trading.