Rescue teams continue search for missing driver in lake

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wwltv.com

Posted on September 30, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Updated Tuesday, Oct 1 at 9:23 AM

Tania Dall / Eyewitness News
Email: tdall@wwltv.com | Twitter: @taniadall

METAIRIE, La. -- Divers resumed their search for a missing man in Lake Pontchartrain Tuesday morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard searched overnight for a driver who drove his truck off the Causeway late Monday afternoon.

The accident temporarily shut down traffic on the Causeway in both directions during the height of the evening commute.

"Going over the bridge, that's a fear going 65 mph. The railing should probably be a little higher in my opinion," said Ken Amacker, who regularly commutes across the Causeway.

Eyewitness News caught up with Amacker on his way home to the Northshore just a few hours after spotting emergency responders try to save a man.

"Looked pretty sad if you will. No one was smiling," Amacker said.

Just after 4 p.m. Causeway officials confirmed a man driving a pick-up truck lost control and plunged his vehicle into Lake Pontchartrain. The accident unfolded in the southbound lanes about three miles from Metairie.

Causeway Bridge General Manager Carlton Dufrechou said a Good Samaritan stopped to help and spotted a man in the water.

"Actually yelled to the guy to see if he was OK. The individual initially said yes, he was. He indicated he was alone in the vehicle. It appeared that he was trying to take boots or shoes off, and according to the eyewitness, within 20 seconds he went under water," said Dufrechou.

Since the initial emergency call, the U.S. Coast Guard has been searching for the driver of the truck with help from the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office dive team.

"They're searching in the vicinity of the bridge and down wind of the bridge. There's a boat and also a helicopter in the air," added Dufrechou.

JPSO confirms it called off its dive team around 7:30 p.m. Monday night, citing safety concerns.

But the sheriff's office says it will be back out in the morning.

The U.S. Coast Guard will keep a search boat out throughout the night and send its helicopter crew back out Tuesday morning.

 

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