2 Trapped in Van After Accident on Route 3 in New Jersey; Parts of Highway Shut Down: Officials

Authorities rescued two men who were trapped in a delivery van when a tractor-trailer carrying a crane hit an overpass on a busy New Jersey highway Wednesday and sent the structure toppling on top of their vehicle, officials say.

The eastbound lanes of NJ Route 3 reopened Thursday morning after being shut down between Harmon Meadow Boulevard and I-495 after the 12 p.m. accident near Paterson Plank Road. One inbound I-495 lane that had been closed also reopened Thursday morning.

Secaucus Mayor Mike Gonnelli said that the crane hit the Paterson Plank Road overpass and fell off the tractor-trailer and onto the van. The van then appears to have hit a pillar near the overpass.

Chopper 4 footage from the scene shows the van braced against the pillar, with parts of the crane strewn across the top of the vehicle and on the roadway. Firefighters can be seen scrambling about, apparently trying to help people inside.

They pulled one man from the vehicle shortly after the accident and freed the second about an hour and a half later in a dramatic rescue effort caught on camera by Chopper 4.

Gonnelli said that both men are conscious and talking and added that it was a "miracle that both people are out alive." 

The tractor-trailer stopped about 100 yards after the spot where the crane hit the overpass.

Some NJ Transit bus service was delayed because of the crash.

-- Pat Battle contributed to this report. 

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