Trucker survives plunge into river after rig fire

| Monday, May 16, 2005

When your rig is on fire and you along with it, there’s only one thing you can do.

To quote the Van Halen song – might as well jump.

At least, that’s what Edward White, a trucker from Livermore Falls, ME, did when his rig caught fire on a bridge on Interstate 495 in Methuen, MA, on May 11.

News reports indicated that White’s truck, a 2001 Volvo box truck owned by Lily Transportation Corp., Needham, MA, was struck by a Mitsubishi Eclipse, causing the front end to slide over the side of the bridge.

The cab of the truck then burst into flames, and White’s shirt went up right along with it. With no way to extinguish the flames, White jumped 60 to 100 feet off the bridge into the Merrimack River below, where he swam to a nearby island to wait for rescue workers.

A crew from the local harbormaster rescued White from the island – which was about 100 yards downriver – more than a half an hour after his truck crashed.

White was taken to a Boston hospital, where he was listed in serious condition with burns on his face, hair, stomach and chest.

The crash closed down a stretch of I-495 well into the evening. Parts of the highway were not re-opened until 6 a.m. the next day.

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