Coast Guard, local agencies search Chesapeake Bay after tractor-trailer goes off Chesapeake Bay Bridge

UPDATE: Coast Guard, local agencies suspend search in Chesapeake Bay after tractor-trailer goes off Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel; driver identified as Christopher Scott

PORTSMOUTH, Va. — The Coast Guard and local agencies suspended their search Friday for the driver of a tractor-trailer truck after it went over the rail of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Thursday roughly 1 mile from Chic’s Beach.

Coast Guard response crews were notified at 9:30 a.m. that salvage crews had found the operator deceased in the cab of the truck. 

The local medical examiner confirmed the identity of 35-year-old Christopher Scott.

“This is a deeply tragic conclusion,” said Capt. Jennifer Stockwell, commander of Coast Guard Sector Virginia. “We had hoped for a different outcome; our thoughts are now with the family in the days and weeks ahead,” she said. 

Salvage crews from Crofton Industries later removed the vehicle from the water at approximately 3 p.m. 

The complex, multi-agency search effort consisted of rescue crews, search aircraft, and boats from the U.S. Coast Guard, Virginia Port Authority, Virginia Beach EMS, Virginia Beach Fire, Virginia Beach Police Department, Chesapeake Bay Bridge Police, Virginia Marine Resource Commission, and Crofton Industries. 

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel Police are investigating the cause of the accident.

Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel under the Chesapeake Bay shipping channel. THE CHESAPEAKE TODAY photo.


PORTSMOUTH, Va. – The Coast Guard and local agencies are searching for one person, Thursday, after a tractor-trailer truck went into the water from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge.

Watchstanders at Coast Guard Sector Virginia command center were notified at approximately 2 p.m. that the truck with trailer attached went over the rail with at least one person inside roughly 1 mile from Chic’s Beach.

Multiple agencies are searching including Coast Guard Station Little Creek, Coast Guard Cutter Sailfish, Coast Guard Cutter Seahawk, Coast Guard Air Station Elizabeth City, Virginia Beach Police, Virginia Beach Fire Department, Virginia Beach EMS, and Virginia Marine Resource Commission.

“This is a concentrated joint search effort consisting of multiple rescue crews, search aircraft, and boats,” said Chief Warrant Officer Dan Butierries, Coast Guard Sector Virginia search and rescue mission coordinator. “We are committed to searching by land and sea throughout the night and into the morning,” he said.

Plans are being made to recover the tractor-trailer Friday.

The Chesapeake Bay Bridge Tunnel Authority is investigating the accident.


The Blessing of the Tunnel Boring Machine

Did you know…that according to tunneling traditions, workers looked to Saint Barbara, a third-century Christian martyr, who is considered in many countries to be the patron saint or protector of miners and tunnelers?  She is also considered a refuge for electricians, welders, firefighters, artillerymen, architects, masons, prisoners, armies, pyrotechnicians, and a protector against storm damage, storms, lightning, fire and sudden death.

On February 10, 2023, in keeping with tunneling tradition, Father Cristiano of Saint Gregory the Great Catholic Church in Virginia Beach, VA blessed a statue of Saint Barbara at the entrance of the tunnel. Additional blessings and prayers for protection were extended to all workers on this project.

Following the blessings, Father Cristiano powered on  Chessie  and the statue of Saint Barbara was transferred to the cabin of the TBM, where she will remain throughout the project.

Oh dear Saint Barbara, bring us grace and bless us with your everlasting devotion.  Protect us from danger and accidental death, and protect us from the evils of this world.

~Traditional prayer of Saint Barbara

And we’re off…

On February 21, 2023, Chessie began her initial excavation at the tunnel’s headwall, marking the official start of tunneling for the Parallel Thimble Shoal Channel Tunnel.

As Herrenknecht performs the final testing and commissioning of the TBM, tunneling will start out slowly, with the installation of one ring a day, or the progression of approximately 6.5 feet.  Over the next few months, progress will slowly increase to 3-4 rings per day, and eventually reach 7-10 rings per day, progressing approximately 60 feet.

The new tunnel will be just over one mile in total length and it is anticipated to take approximately 12-14 months for Chessie to complete the dig.

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