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Helicopter crash shuts down I-10 near New Orleans

The fiery crash forced the closure of two major freeways outside the city, including I-10.

NEW ORLEANS — The Louisiana Department of Transportation reversed a decision to close the Interstate 10 Bonnet Carré Spillway Bridge on Wednesday for electrical line repairs. Instead, the bridge will be closed on Sunday, Dec. 19.

I-10 on the bridge and parts of I-55 were scheduled to close at 11 a.m. for three hours on Wednesday as Entergy crews worked to repair power lines damaged in a deadly helicopter crash on Tuesday.

At 10:30 a.m., just 30 minutes before the closure was set to go in effect, the LADOTD reversed the decision.

"The repairs will be made at a later date and the public will be notified of the closure ahead of time," LADOTD said.

The repairs are needed after  the Federal Aviation Administration said a Bell 407 helicopter crashed onto I-10 on Tuesday afternoon. Entergy Louisiana said that the crash caused damage to transmission infrastructure and knocked out power to around 20,000 customers. 

"All indications are that the helicopter coming into contact with our lines caused the outage," an Entergy spokesperson said. "Once the site is safe, we will assess damage to our equipment and begin making necessary repairs."

Authorities say the pilot, who was from the Greater Baton Rouge area, died in the crash. The pilot was the only person onboard the helicopter.

An investigator with the National Transportation Safety Board arrived at the crash site on Wednesday. The helicopter wreckage will be recovered and taken to a secure location in Baton Rouge. 

"Part of the investigation will be to request radar data, weather information, maintenance records and the pilot's medical records," a spokesperson for the NTSB said. "The NTSB investigator will look at the human, machine and environment as the outline of the investigation."

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