Divers recover body of dump truck driver from lake’s bottom

Rescue divers on Friday recovered the body of the driver of a dump truck that fell off the edge of the Lake Pontchartrain Causeway after it caught on fire and exploded Wednesday evening.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Office divers recovered the body of Christopher Sergeant, 39, of New Orleans, near where his truck was recovered on the floor of the lake, said Carlton Dufrechou, the causeway’s general manager. A cause of death was not immediately available.

Crews pulled Sergeant’s truck from the lake’s bottom on Thursday but did not find him in the cab. The lake is about 12 to 14 feet deep where the truck went into the water.

The accident that killed Sergeant happened about 4:45 p.m. Wednesday, Dufrechou has said.

A driver on the northbound bridge called causeway police to report that a truck on the southbound bridge was on fire. While that driver was on the phone with police, the truck exploded.

Eyewitnesses said the truck was propelled into the air during the explosion, Dufrechou said. Rescue crews worked into the night on Wednesday in an effort to rescue Sergeant but were unsuccessful.

The accident and subsequent closures to retrieved the truck and Sergeant forced several hours-long closures of both spans the past two days.

A cause for the fire and explosion of the truck has not been released.