HomeNewsSemi-Truck Goes Off Indiana Bridge, Catches Fire Before Falling Into River

Semi-Truck Goes Off Indiana Bridge, Catches Fire Before Falling Into River

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Alexander Koerner/Getty Images)

A UPS semi-truck drove off an Indiana Toll Road bridge, caught fire, and then landed in the Calumet River on Friday morning (Dec. 2). Miraculously, the driver walked away with only minor injuries, and no other vehicles were involved.

Indiana State Police reported that the accident happened just after 2 a.m. The truck burst into flames after it struck the side of the bridge. And then it became lodged between the east and westbound lanes. Around 11 a.m., the cab detached and fell into the water. A crane later arrived and kept the rest of the truck from following.

Initially, authorities feared the driver was inside the cab when it fell into the river, so Hammond fire and scuba crews responded to the scene. But the 32-year-old Lansing, Michigan, man had climbed out of the truck and clung to a support beam. Rescuers were able to pull him to safety and take him to a nearby hospital. He has since been released.

Authorities Said it’s ‘Basically a Miracle’ That Everyone Survived the Semi-Truck Crash

Local authorities told CBS News that the accident was one of the worst they’d ever seen.

“It’s been a wild day,” Hammond Deputy Fire Chief Bernie Grisolia said. “We see bad accidents – but to see something like this, this morning, it was unbelievable.”

Several fire departments, scuba teams, and hazmat teams were needed to clear the crash scene. And they worked into the night searching for debris that could have fallen into the water. Crews resumed their work the following morning. During the efforts, the toll road was closed in both directions.

“The cab was basically in the water. We had fire,” said Grisolia. “It was just basically a miracle to have anybody survive what we’ve seen today.”

“We did a quick search into the cab of the semi-truck, where they couldn’t find anyone. The crews started sweeping the waterway, looking for the driver if he was ejected. No luck,” he continued. “Within about 15 minutes, we did hear some yelling. He was actually hanging on top of the concrete pillar over there.”

What caused the accident is still unknown, but UPS is working with authorities as they conduct a formal investigation. And in the meantime, the company is just glad that their driver survived the harrowing incident.

“We are thankful our driver is safe and that no other vehicles were involved,” the company said in a statement. “We are working with responding authorities on this continuing investigation.”