Pilot dies in helicopter crash on Interstate 10 near LaPlace

Staff Report
Louisiana State Police released a photo from the scene of a helicopter crash on Interstate 10 eastbound.

A helicopter pilot died in a crash Dec. 14 on the Interstate 10 Bonnet Carre Spillway bridge in the LaPlace area.

The following day, authorities identified the pilot as 42-year-old Joshua Hawley.

Hawley was a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, Eagle Scout, paramedic, mechanic, electrician, and father of three young boys. He grew up in Ascension Parish and graduated from St. Amant High School in 1997.

Family members have set up a fundraiser through GoFundMe.

"Joshua Hawley was a treasured friend and family member who we lost too soon. He will leave a hole in our lives. Josh was a friend to many and a bright light. He had a servant's spirit," David Hawley stated.

Hawley also served in the East Baton Rouge Parish emergency medical services department for four years. The EBR mayor-president's office released a statement offering prayers for his family, friends, and colleagues.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, the Bell 407 helicopter went down about 12:30 p.m. 

The helicopter had departed from Gonzales and was on its way to the Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, according to a report published by The Times-Picayune.

Social media users posted videos from the scene showing the wreckage burning after the crash.

Only the pilot was on board at the time. Authorities have been investigating and have not released information on fatalities.

Louisiana State Police reported in the afternoon troopers responded to Interstate 10 eastbound at milepost 212 (Bonne Carré Spillway Bridge). The interstate's eastbound lanes at U.S. Hwy. 51 were closed. Interstate 55 southbound was closed and southbound traffic was diverted to U.S. Hwy. 51.

According to a release from Entergy, the aircraft struck a power line. About 20,000 customers lost power temporarily in the Kenner and Metairie areas.

Through 2 a.m. on Dec. 15, Entergy crews worked to reinstall the overhead transmission lines on Interstate 10 eastbound between Interstate 55 and Interstate 310.

According to a release from DOTD, the Bonnet Carre Spillway Bridge was set to remain open Dec. 15. Initially, the interstate was set to close in the morning for Entergy to complete power line repairs.

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