Saturday, March 16, 2013

Troubled by troubled jumper

Sometimes when I'm alone by the river I get this strange feeling I'll see a body washed up onto our land.  I know that's strange but we see so much stuff coming down the river you just never know.

Yesterday morning I went down to feed the pigs and saw lots of police cars and rescue vehicles on the bridge that borders our property.  Two men came over to ask me if it was ok if they drove in our field in case an ambulance needed to get down to the river.  Apparently a local man told his family he was going to jump off a bridge and it appears he did.  His car was found in the middle of the bridge leading into Arnold's Valley with no sign of the man.  I don't know who the guy is but was told he lives nearby and had previously jumped off the I 81 bridge but wasn't successful in his suicide attempt. 

I talked to a sheriff for awhile as we watched one of the divers.  He said the diver could stay in the water for no longer than an hour because the water was so cold.  It's pretty murky too because of the recent rain and snow.  Other rescuers waited on the shore in boats.  I eavesdropped on their conversation.  They had already done a search like this earlier in the week.  A woman had jumped but they couldn't find her.  Her body was recovered later.  I asked the sheriff how long it would be before this man's body surfaced.  He said 2 or 3 days.   He also said most bodies are found within 100 feet of where they jumped and rarely float too far downstream.

They quit searching at dark last night and resumed again late this morning.  Last I saw they were in boats further downstream and I read that they were using sonar.

It's all very disturbing and I can't stop thinking about it.  I do wonder if the man really jumped or is he watching from somewhere nearby.  I'll sleep better when this is over.


  1. How horrible for everyone involved, kpannabecker! I would wish for a happy resolution but it seems that is out of the question. Just stay away from the river for awhile.

  2. We had the same experience here just a couple of years ago. The man was 81. But the bridge is at the mouth of a tidal river that flows in and out of a strait. They didn't find him where they were looking; they found him - the body - a long way off.
    In our neighbour, newly arrived to our rural area, it inspired a song;not in the morbid sense but in a moving sense, from a gifted singer. She has a broad audience but I wonder how many of her listeners feel the back story of that song? The why haunts us.
    Take care. Try not to feel differently about your river.

  3. I'm strangely fascinted by the ongoing search. Today a dog did the searching. He sniffed along the riverbank. I was told he was trained to search for the smell of decomposing bodies and that he could smell that on the water. They said tomorrow a different dog would be here and they'd take it out in a boat and it could sense a body under the water. He has been very successful in the past. Just last week that's how they found a drowned woman in a nearby county. The river has risen so they think they'll find him farther downstream.