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New Orleans, LA Bridge Collapse, May 1993

BRIDGE COLLAPSES IN NEW ORLEANS.

New Orleans (AP) - A barge in a canal hit a four-lane bridge Friday, knocking a 200-foot segment of it down just before afternoon rush hour. One person was killed, the Coast Guard said.
At least two cars went down with the Claiborne Avenue bridge, which collapsed onto the empty barge and the shallows and bank of the Industrial Canal. The cars fell about 40 feet and were heavily damaged. One was halfway into the water.
The crash killed CYNTHIA MARTIN, 31, of New Orleans, and injured ALLEN GONZALES, 52, hometown unknown, and a second man, police said.
Divers were searching the water in case MRS. MARTIN'S 18-month-old son was with her. MRS. MARTIN was five months pregnant.
GONZALES and a 53-year-old man were in critical condition at Chalmette Medical Center. The second man's name was not released.
The barge was being towed by a tugboat when it hit a portion of the bridge that does not span the canal's main shipping channel, said Coast Guard Lt. Robert Schoen.
A crewman, Tommy DuBois, told WDSU-TV that the crew had pulled the tug up to the bank to work on its engine, but the boat drifted into the canal and the barge hit the pier before the engine could be started. DuBois said he and other crew members swam to the wreckage but weren't in time to save MRS. MARTIN.
"I saw a big cloud of smoke and saw the bridge collapse," said Tyron Thornton, who lives nearby. "It vibrated the whole neighborhood."
Thornton said drivers slammed on their brakes, leaped out and ran back to warn people behind them on the bridge.
Ambulances stuck in the muddy ground along the canal, but rescue workers and bystanders pushed them free. Three Coast Guard cutters that were tied up nearby sent boats to help any people in the water.
The bridge is a major route from New Orleans to suburban St. Bernard Parish. The Industrial Canal links the Mississippi River, the Intracoastal Waterway and Lake Pontchartrain.

Brattleboro Reformer Vermont 1993-05-29

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