NEW ORLEANS — A construction worker was killed and three others were injured when a portion of the new Twin Span Bridge collapsed Thursday.

Emergency officials at the scene said that dive crews have found the body of a man missing in the collapse, but they are waiting for a crane to lift a girder, which has trapped the body underwater, reported WDSU-TV.

In all, 10 workers fell into the lake, and nine of them were quickly rescued.

The accident happened at about 12:30 p.m. Thursday on a portion of the new bridge about 3 miles from the St. Tammany Parish side of the lake.

Police told WDSU that the workers were standing on a girder already in place on the newly constructed bridge. That girder, which was about 135 feet long and weighed 70 tons, somehow fell into the water.

Two of the workers were taken to Slidell Memorial Hospital and one was taken to Lakeview Hospital. The other six refused medical treatment.

The water is about 8 to 10 feet deep where the accident happened, police said.

Investigators aren’t sure whether the missing worker was tethered to the construction equipment at the time of the accident.

The Twin Span project broke ground in July 2006 and is scheduled for completion in 2011. However, the westbound span — from Slidell to New Orleans — is set to open to traffic in mid- to late 2009.

The $800 million project is funded by the federal government. When complete, the new spans will each carry three lanes of traffic on a 5.5-mile journey across the lake.

The old Twin Span, which has been in use since the 1960s and sustained major damage during Hurricane Katrina, will be dismantled.


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