Man rescued after falling from I-90 bridge site - WAOW - Newsline 9, Wausau News, Weather, Sports

Man rescued after falling from I-90 bridge site

Posted: Updated: Nov 6, 2013 04:28 PM

DRESBACH, Minnesota (WXOW) -- A 19-year old man was injured after falling roughly 40 feet into a cofferdam Wednesday morning at the I-90 bridge construction site near the Dresbach rest area.

The man, an Ames Construction worker, had been laying down what MnDOT officials called "form" -- a framework into which concrete is eventually poured -- in anticipation of the building of a new pier.

He fell from an overhead platform into the cofferdam just after 9:00 a.m.

Police and fire crews from Campbell and La Crescent worked to extricate the man from the cofferdam, where he had become trapped.

Ames Construction equipment proved critical to the rescue, said Gary Brauer, an Assistant Chief with the Campbell Fire Department.

Brauer said an Ames crane was used to lift the man out of the cofferdam once he'd been placed into a rescue basket.

An Ames tugboat was then used to transport the 19-year old from the dam to the shore -- where he was loaded into an ambulance and taken to the hospital just before 10:45 p.m.

As of 4:00 p.m. Wednesday, Ames said the man was receiving medical treatment at a La Crosse hospital but did not elaborate on his condition.

"Our safety team is at the project and will work with the project management to determine the cause of this very unfortunate incident," said Ames Construction Vice President of Safety Roger McBride.

Mark Anderson, MnDOT's project manager for the I-90 bridge construction, said his organization is trying to determine if it will perform a safety investigation as well.

Anderson said work at the site of the accident, the cofferdam at "pier two," is currently on hold.
"Right now our immediate concern is the health and welfare of the injured worker," Anderson said.

Anderson added traffic on the bridge has not been affected by the accident.

MnDOT is currently in the process of constructing a new bridge over the Mississippi River, near Dresbach, to replace the current one, which Anderson said is outdated.

The project is expected to be completed in 2016.

An earlier version of this story is below.


DRESBACH, Minnesota (WXOW) – A worker on the new I-90 bridge project is severely injured in a construction accident Wednesday morning.

The man, identified as a 19-year-old man by the Campbell Fire Department, was injured when he fell 45 feet into a cofferdam at the construction site on the Mississippi River.

A cofferdam is a temporary structure built to hold back water while bridge pilings are constructed.

Its still not clear what caused the man to fall into what his known as the Pier 2 cofferdam. According to a statement from the Minnesota Department of Transportation (MnDOT), shortly after 9:00 a.m., another worker saw the fall and started their emergency response plan.

Because of the location of the cofferdam, which is on the water, rescuers were ferried out to the cofferdam.  They used one of the cranes to lower a rescue basket into the dam to help bring the man out. 

He was brought to shore by boat, then transferred to a waiting Tri-state ambulance to take him to a Gundersen Health System in La Crosse.

According to a Minnesota Department of Transportation official who spoke to WXOW, the man was a worker for Ames Construction of Burnsville, Minnesota, who is helping build the bridge.

La Crescent and Campbell police, Campbell Fire Department and First Responders assisted with the rescue along with the Winona County Sheriff's Department.

Campbell Fire Chief Nate Melby said that the success of the rescue Wednesday was due pre-planning on the part of the construction company and emergency services. "In the weeks and months leading up to this construction, we have had extensive pre-incident planning conversations with Ames Construction, including several meetings with Ames' Safety Teams and local emergency services. The on-scene cooperation and planned response between emergency services and Ames Construction at the scene worked very well as a result of this planning."

Investigators from OSHA, the Occupational Safety Health Administration, are on the way to the construction site to look into the incident.

In a statement from MnDOT project manager Mark Anderson, he said, "Right now our immediate concern is the health and welfare of the injured worker. Work on Pier 2 has temporarily stopped while the incident is being investigated, but work on the rest of the project is continuing. There is no impact to traffic on the construction site."


WXOW will continue to bring you updates on this story as they become available.


DRESBACH, Minnesota (WXOW)- Update: Officials told News 19 Reporter Pete Zervakis, a man was working on a coffer dam near the I-90 Bridge Construction Site when he fell. 

Officials say the man has been rescued using a rescue basket. 

He will transported to land by a boat and then transported to a hospital in La Crosse. 

We do not know what his injuries are.

La Crescent and Campbell Police and Fire Department are on scene, along with Tri-state. 

We will continue to follow the story as more information becomes available.


BREAKING: Campbell Fire Department, First Responders and Tri-State Ambulance are on scene of a construction worker who fell about 45 feet while working on the I-90 bridge over the Mississippi River.

Officials say the victim is now trapped in a confined space below the bridge.

No other info at this time. 

La Crescent (MN) Fire Dept. has been paged for mutual aid.

News 19's Pete Zervakis is on scene. 


BREAKING:  A person has fallen off the Dresbach Bridge near the construction area. Tri-State says it is a rescue operation at this time. We do not know the injuries of the person.  Reporter Pete Zervakis is on scene and we will continue to follow this story as more information becomes available.


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