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N.C. trucker dies after fall off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

By Andrew V. Pestano

Feb. 10 (UPI) -- Joseph Chen, a 47-year-old North Carolina truck driver, died after his tractor trailer hauling seafood went over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, emergency officials said.

The incident occurred Thursday at about 12:30 p.m. on the bridge-tunnel's mile marker 15. After it fell into the water below, tractor trailer drifted about a mile east from the bridge, officials said. A U.S. Navy helicopter saw Chen on top of the vehicle's cab and pulled him aboard about five minutes later.

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Naval Air Force Atlantic spokesman Mike Maus said Chen died aboard the helicopter on the way to the hospital.

Tom Anderson, the deputy director of Operations for the Chesapeake Bay Bridge and Tunnel District, said the four lane, 20-mile long bridge-tunnel was under travel restrictions due to high winds. The restrictions are activated when wind speeds reach 40 mph.

Winds exceeded 60 mph Thursday morning. Authorities are investigating the incident to determine whether wind was a factor.

Since 1964, a dozen vehicles have fallen over the side of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, officials said. Only one person has survived.

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