NORFOLK, Va. – Driving through heavy winds, a tractor-trailer plunged off a bridge into the frigid waters of the Chesapeake Bay on Thursday. Even though the driver was seen alive and standing on the floating truck's roof, he was found in the water and unresponsive by the time a U.S. Navy helicopter reached him.
The truck driver died on the way to a hospital in Norfolk, said Thomas Anderson, deputy director of the Virginia-based Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District. Anderson identified the driver as Joseph Chen, 47, of Greenville, North Carolina.
Anderson said investigators will determine if wind, or other factors such as a medical emergency, contributed to the crash on the 23-mile span of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel. Anderson says 12 people have driven off the bridge since it opened in 1964, and 10 of those people, including the truck driver, have died.
The truck faced no travel restrictions because wind conditions were between 40 mph to 47 mph, Anderson said. However, earlier in the day, wind speeds were as high as 60 mph, limiting travel to cars, pickup trucks and SUV that weren't hauling cargo, according to the bridge-tunnel's website.
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