Developing: Mississippi River Bridge
11:35 am
Wed March 28, 2012

Updated reports: Worker falls into river at Mississippi River Bridge construction site

Updated at 10:05 p.m.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch, quoting East St. Louis Police chief Michael Floore, says the missing worker has tentatively been identified as 35-year-old Andy Gammon of Park Hills, Mo., which is about 65 miles south of St. Louis. The Post-Dispatch says investigators from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are on scene to investigate.

Updated at 5 p.m.

MoDOT spokesman Drew Gates provided this update:

  • Dive crews tried twice to locate the missing worker and the lift, but were unable to complete either dive because of strong currents and murky water. They were pulled around 4 p.m. Wednesday.
  • Gates says searchers have located "something metal" on the riverbed.  The contractor, Massman, Traylor Bros.,  Alberici will be driving thin steel pipes into the river bottom upstream from the object. It's hoped that will calm the river enough to allow divers to try again around noon tomorrow.

Updated at 3:55 with additional reporting:

Crews from the St. Louis Fire Department, U.S. Coast Guard, Illinois Conservation Police, Metro Air Support, and the Swansea and East St. Louis fire departments, as well as a private dive team hired by contractor Massman, Traylor Bros.,  Alberici, are all working the accident scene. It's still being classified as a "search and rescue" effort. Massman Traylor Alberici had no comment.

MoDOT engineer Greg Horn says crews believe the lift that toppled into the water is on the riverbed near the Illinois side.

The Coast Guard has shut down the river to all traffic between miles markers 180.5 and 181.5

Full updated story from the Associated Press, 1 p.m.:

A search is under way in the Mississippi River near East St. Louis for a construction worker who authorities say fell from a barge into the water along with a piece of equipment.

Missouri Department of Transportation spokesman Andrew Gates says the accident happened Wednesday on the Illinois side of the river and involved a worker on a planned bridge that will link Illinois and Missouri.

Gates says the missing worker was harnessed into a four-wheeled piece of equipment that's similar to a bucket truck when it toppled into the river.

Gates says he didn't immediately have more details on how the accident happened.

Searchers included crews with the Coast Guard, the St. Louis Fire Department and various tugboats.

Story, headline updated at 11:47 a.m. to indicate that there was no confirmation that the crane broke, just that the worker fell into the water. From the Post- Dispatch:

"Andrew Gates, a spokesman for the Missouri Department of Transportation, said at 11:25 a.m. today that all he could confirm is that a worker had fallen into the water. He couldn't confirm that a crane had broken."

Original Story:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch and KMOV.com are reporting that a crane operator working on the construction of the new Mississippi River Bridge is missing after falling into the river following the crane's collapse.

The Post-Dispatch reports that the crane broke Wednesday morning and fell over in the water. St. Louis Fire Department rescue crews went to the scene. The worker's life jacket was found, but not the man.

We'll keep you updated with the latest information as it becomes available.