The crane fell over, landing on the wheelhouse of the Cory Michael, trapping the captain inside, according to Jonathan Lally, a Coast Guard spokesman. The captain, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead shortly before 1 a.m. after other vessels in the area assisted with getting the tugboat to a dock, where firefighters were able to get him out of the wheelhouse.
Matt Gresham of the Port of New Orleans said the Cory Michael was pushing the barge south on the Industrial Canal, a 5-mile waterway between Lake Pontchartrain and the Mississippi River. The tugboat was proceeding under the Florida Avenue Bridge, which had been raised to the height requested by the captain, when the collision occurred.
The bridge was closed to traffic until about 4:30 a.m.
The Coast Guard is investigating the collision.