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Ontario trucker, answering cellphone, survives 18-metre fall into Pa. river
09:54 PM EST Mar 26

CLARKS FERRY, Pa. (AP) - A Canadian trucker reaching to answer his cellphone drove off a highway bridge in central Pennsylvania, surviving an 18-metre plunge into the Susquehanna River, state police said.

A firefighter driving nearby watched the tractor-trailer separate in mid-flight - the loaded truck splitting open as it landed on an entrance ramp below the highway. He was stunned to find the trucker alive when he reached the river.

"I thought we'd be doing a body recovery," Marty Hoffman, a volunteer firefighter with the Halifax Fire Department, said after the Wednesday afternoon crash in Dauphin County.

Driver Darren Marceau, 25, of Cambridge, Ont., had crawled out of his submerged cab and was making his way up the river bank as witnesses climbed down to reach him.

Marceau was in good condition at Penn State Milton S. Hershey Medical Center Wednesday night.

His westbound rig had plunged off of the Clarks Ferry Bridge on Routes 22/322 at about 3 p.m. The melee startled a hiker on the nearby Appalachian Trail and a state transportation worker two cars behind the trucker.

According to state police, Marceau drifted off the road as he tried to answer a cellphone call.

He was bleeding, wet and somewhat dazed afterward, clutching his watch like a security blanket. He knew the date but was not fully aware of what had happened, said Hoffman, who tended to him until more help arrived.

Marceau's rig was hauling metal pallets that were strewn far and wide, authorities said. The crash tied up traffic and dumped diesel fuel into the river, authorities said.

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