UPDATE: Man who was nearly crushed by a concrete wall Thursday survives with a broken hip, scrapes and bruises

Published 8:32 am Friday, March 25, 2022

NATCHEZ — A man who was nearly crushed by a retaining wall that fell in around him as he was fishing by the Mississippi River at Natchez Thursday morning sustained only a broken hip and minor scrapes and bruises, authorities say.

Cantrell Harris, 64, was treated at the scene for possible broken bones and possible crush syndrome, a nervous system condition caused by the cutting off of blood flow to parts of the body. He was airlifted to a Jackson hospital for further examination and authorities said he “only has a broken hip bone and nothing else but scratches and bruises.”

Harris

He was located at approximately 11 a.m. Thursday by the Mississippi River behind the Hotel Vue and adjacent the U.S. 84 bridge. Harris had what Natchez Fire Chief Robert Arrington guessed to be a ton or two of concrete from the broken retaining wall on top of him.

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Harris had his cell phone with him and was able to call 911 for help.

Arrington said the sand in the area was soft, which made rescuing Harris difficult but also may have helped save his life.

“Thank God for the sand. It was a gift and a curse. It’s soft enough that it would absorb some of the weight to stop it from crushing him,” Arrington said at the scene.

A medical helicopter stopped traffic on U.S. 84 near the bridge for almost an hour Thursday so it could land safely on the highway and get Harris to a hospital.

It took collaboration with multiple agencies, including assistance from Vidalia Police to direct traffic along Natchez Police and Fire departments, AMR, Adams County Sheriff’s Office and Wildlife and Fisheries to rescue Harris from the debris, Natchez Police Chief Joseph Daughtry said.

“It was a blessing. It could have been worse,” he said.