Monday, April 30, 2007
California overpass meltdown
I-Reporter Paul Kochli helped CNN provide viewers with their first glimpse of the fiery, overpass truck crash in Oakland, California. (Watch his video.)

Kochli says he was driving with his girlfriend Sunday morning when he became distracted by smoke and bright flames near the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge. Kochli stopped the car, grabbed his camera and started shooting video of the fiery gasoline truck crash.

“I thought it was a plane crash,” Kochli recalls. “I didn’t want to get too close. There was so much damage.”

Yet melting steel beams, collapsing concrete and temperatures up to 2,000 degrees didn’t deter the I-Reporter from filming the inferno. "I figured we'd be the only ones recording it," Kochli says.

Kochli says other drivers couldn’t believe what they were seeing. “Everyone else was pretty much in shock. They left their cars pretty much on the side of the road,” he says.

Kochli quickly sent his footage to CNN as an I-Report. His video provided CNN with its first images of the accident. His footage and on-the-phone interview with CNN later would become one of CNN.com’s most popular videos.
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