Driver survives crash as scaffolding plummets to the ground in the CBD

A man was inside his car waiting for his wife when he witnessed the scaffolding barreling towards him from the sky.

NEW ORLEANS- "All I saw was a flash of spark and a loud noise," tourist Craig Shea said.

Debris and metal shut down a part of Carondelet street between Poydras and Union in the Central Business District Tuesday after a huge scaffolding crashed to the ground, damaging several cars right before rush hour. 

"It was just a crashing metal," tourist William Ducsak said. 

"You could see the wind picking up and all of the scaffolding and shaking," Slidell resident 
Sam LeBlanc said. 

LeBlanc was inside his car waiting for his wife Donna LeBlanc when he witnessed the scaffolding barreling towards him from the sky. 

"Then in the most slow motion, it came right down on top of me. I ducked down and landed, crushed on top of my car. And I climbed out the door," LeBlanc said. 

"I was getting ready to leave and he called me and I figured he'd say I'm here. And I was like, 'I'm coming down.' And he goes, 'No you're not! Scaffolding's all over the car. I'm like, what," Donna LeBlanc said. 

When Donna came downstairs and found her husband who was helped otu of the car by the NOPD, she let out a sigh of relief. 

"Brand new, not even 30 days old is my new car. But my husband is okay...that's all that matters," Donna LeBlanc said. 

Shortly after the collapse, RTA deactivated the street car lines. The NOPD is now looking into the cause. For now, they believe Mother Nature could've caused the collapse. 
 
"The building inspector and safety department are now on scene to determine what caused this. But obviously, preliminary we believe it could be weather related," NOPD 8th District Commander Nick Gernon said.

The clean-up is now underway and the NOPD says removing the scaffolding and damaged cars could take all night. 

Both the NOPD and eyewitnesses say given the time of day, it's amazing no one was seriously hurt. 

"It was blue skies. That side was black. It was just starting to kind of drizzle a little bit. We started walking up. If we were 60 seconds closer, we would've been part of," Visitor Craig Shea said. 

The NOPD says The Department of Safety and Permits will further inspect the fall to determine and investigate the actual cause. 

© 2017 WWL-TV


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