Driver dies after tractor trailer blown off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel

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VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (AP) — Authorities say a Navy helicopter plucked a driver from the roof of a tractor-trailer after it was swept off the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel by high winds and began floating in the water. The driver later died.

Guardrail damage on the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel, where a tractor trailer went off the bridge. (Photo: Steven Graves, ABC affiliate WVEC

Bridge and tunnel deputy director Thomas Anderson says the unidentified driver died after his rescue Thursday.

U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer Corinne Zilnicki says the tractor-trailer was blown off the bridge shortly before 12:30 p.m.

The male driver was spotted on top of the vehicle's cab at 12:35 p.m. and was recovered by a Navy helicopter from Squadron HSC-2. The driver died while en route to Sentara Norfolk General Hospital.

The tractor-trailer has drifted about a mile east from the bridge, officials say. Helicopters and several surface vessels form the Coast Guard, Virginia Marine Resources Commission and Virginia Beach Marine Patrol are responding to the scene.

Winds on the bridge-tunnel were about 40 mph Thursday, although Anderson says they had been much higher earlier in the day.