Boats, divers search for bridge jumper

Published 5:49 pm Thursday, May 26, 2011

LAW ENFORCEMENT UNIT search the waters of the Flint River for a person eyewitnesses say jumped from the bypass bridge.

The Decatur County Sheriff’s Office led an aquatic search after people called 911 Wednesday evening to report a man had jumped off the bypass bridge into the Flint River.

Witnesses reported seeing a man jump off the bridge that carries northbound/westbound traffic on the bypass over the river, Investigator Julian Crowder said.

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“If you jumped off the bridge, you would probably survive the fall, unless you hit the rocks underwater,” Capt. Gale Bowyer, chief crime scene investigator with the Sheriff’s Office said. “The bypass bridge isn’t quite as tall as the Calhoun Street bridge, but it’s still a pretty good drop.”

Law enforcement officers immediately began searching the river after the calls came in around 7 p.m. Wednesday. They resumed the search early Thursday morning and throughout the day.

Other agencies involved in the search were the Georgia State Patrol, the Georgia Department of Natural Resources and Decatur County Fire and Rescue.

On Thursday, the various agencies had four boats in the water. The DNR boat was equipped with a sonar device used to help give the Sheriff’s Office divers an idea of where to search.

The river depth underneath the bridge is about 20-21 feet; however, according to deputies, there are jagged rock structures about 13 feet under the water’s surface that would be hazardous to anyone who dove off the bridge.