One worker drowns after bridge accident in USA

A column under construction collapsed on a new bridge, sending nine workers plunging into the Bay of St. Louis. One worker died and another was missing.

Eight workers were taken to area hospitals following the accident Thursday on the highway U.S. 90 bridge, a 2-mile (3-kilometer) span that was built to replace one that was destroyed in Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and partially opened to traffic last month.

Alger Pennamn, 51, was pronounced dead shortly after arrival, said Harrison County Coroner Gary Hargrove. The others were in stable condition, according to hospital officials.

Workers were pouring concrete on the north side of the bridge when a column form failed and fell, according to Lisa Siegel, a spokeswoman for the Mississippi Department of Transportation.

"The whole column went into the water," she said.

The Coast Guard dispatched two rescue helicopters and a 25-foot boat to join the search for the missing worker, said Petty Officer Tom Atkeson. Officials suspected the worker was trapped under debris in the water.

The $267 million (euro200 million) bridge, which connects Bay St. Louis with Pass Christian to the east, is scheduled to be completed in November.