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NTSB ISSUES INVESTIGATIVE UPDATE ON WASHINGTON BRIDGE COLLAPSE


(The following is a reformatted version of a press release issued by the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board and received via electronic mail. The release was confirmed by the sender.)

NTSB ISSUES SECOND INVESTIGATIVE UPDATE ON I-5 BRIDGE COLLAPSE IN WASHINGTON May 31, 2013

The National Transportation Safety Board today released a second update in its continuing investigation into the May 23 bridge collapse in Mount Vernon, Washington.

The accident truck and trailer, the exemplar truck and trailer, and the pick-up truck that was on the bridge when it collapsed have all been released. Investigators will be downloading the airbag module from the Subaru (the other vehicle on the bridge during the collapse) to determine if it might contain any information relevant to the investigation.

Both the driver of the pickup truck and the driver of the Subaru have been interviewed. Interviews with other witnesses to the accident are ongoing.

Regarding the collapsed section of the bridge, all of the steel structure above the water line has been removed. NTSB investigators are documenting the entire collapsed bridge structure as the Washington Department of Transportation officials work to remove the remaining bridge elements from the river. Investigators will continue documentation efforts as WDOT removes the collapsed bridge deck (road surface) and substructure from the water, which is expected to continue into next week.

An NTSB investigator traveled to the headquarters of Mullen Trucking in Alberta, Canada, to gather information on the motor carrier’s operations, safety history, training process, maintenance procedures and records, and other documents related to the investigation.

In a media briefing near the accident site on May 25, the NTSB said that Washington State does not require vertical clearance signage to be posted unless the clearance is fourteen feet four inches or less. Further research indicated that the actual minimum vertical clearance over the travel lanes requiring signage is fifteen feet three inches or less. In either reference, the Skagit River Bridge measures greater than fifteen feet three inches over the travel lanes and therefore does not require signage.

This is an informational release only. No interviews will be conducted.

Further investigative updates will be issued as warranted.

Contact Information:

Office of Public Affairs 490 L’Enfant Plaza, SW Washington, DC 20594

(202) 314-6100 Peter Knudson peter.knudson@ntsb.gov

(kgt)NY

#<630990.1895494.3.4.1.0.76>#

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