A diving-and-salvage team recovered the body of a state Department of Transportation employee who apparently drove off the bridge. “Those who knew our co-worker will remember him as a champion for safety,” WSDOT’s acting secretary wrote.

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The body of a Washington State Department of Transportation (WSDOT) worker, who is believed to have accidentally driven off the Hood Canal Bridge last week, has been recovered.

The man and the pickup he was in at the time of the apparent accident were pulled from Hood Canal waters more than 340 feet deep early Thursday, said Claudia Bingham Baker, WSDOT communication director for the Olympic Peninsula region.

It’s not clear what caused the apparent accident, acting Secretary of Transportation Roger Millar told WSDOT employees in an email.

“It may be some time before we learn what caused this tragic event, and indeed we may never know,” Millar wrote. “Those who knew our co-worker will remember him as a champion for safety. He will be remembered for his willingness to respond to any need at the bridge, to help other employees with tasks, and to be fully involved in his job.”

A statement from the family of the man, who was a bridge technician, was included in Millar’s email.

“These last 10 days have been the hardest days our collective family has had to face. We are united in extending our gratitude to the search crews who have worked so many long hours to recover our loved one, and to the WSDOT Hood Canal Bridge crew and management for their kindness and compassion throughout this ordeal.”

In the statement, family members asked that media not contact them.

A diving-and-salvage team used a remote-controlled submersible to attach straps to the vehicle so it could be hoisted to the surface by a derrick barge.

The Washington State Patrol is investigating the incident, but likely won’t make a determination about what happened for weeks, if not months, said Patrol spokesman Russ Winger.

“Our detectives just got the vehicle; they’re still doing more workup,” Winger said. “There’s still a lot more to do before they come to any determination.”

Winger said that although there are cameras on the bridge, there is not any video footage of the lower bridge-deck, where the vehicle went through a railing.