Police: Body found in harbor may be man who jumped from Maine-NH bridge

Posted Aug. 09, 2012, at 7:04 a.m.
Last modified Aug. 09, 2012, at 1:58 p.m.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The New Hampshire Marine Patrol said while they have yet to confirm the identity of a body found in Portsmouth Harbor on Wednesday, they believe it to be the man who threw himself off the I-95 bridge a week prior.

“We’re working to confirm that,” Marine Patrol Sgt. Crystal McLain told Foster’s Thursday morning. “We believe it may be, though we haven’t confirmed that at this point.”

A fishing vessel crew contacted the New Hampshire Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard at about 2 p.m. yesterday to report the discovery of a dead body in the harbor. The subject was removed from the ocean about five miles from the I-95 bridge, which connects New Hampshire to the state of Maine over the Piscataqua River. The state medical examiner has been called in to assist in the investigation.

State Police reported on Monday they know the identity of the man from the Aug. 1 incident — who shouted it to a Maine State Police trooper as officials approached the scene, according to Goodwin — but they have yet to release it. Officials said they are working with the man’s family to respect their wishes.

Last Wednesday, witnesses reported seeing a man on a bicycle looking over the bridge railing at about 5 p.m. Investigating Trooper Nathaniel Goodwin of the New Hampshire State Police said the man didn’t give officials time to reason with him as they arrived on scene. Moment later, he reportedly threw himself over the railing.

According to the U.S. Coast Guard, the man threw his wallet over the bridge before jumping as well. Bystanders said they saw the man’s body hit the water, but did not see him come back up.

Due to murky conditions of the water, and the river’s known strong current, Goodwin said he believed last week, following several hours of searching on the night of incident and the following morning that turned up negative results, if a body was not found in two to three days, there would be no hope of locating it.

He added he knows of only two people who had survived the fall from the bridge and said it is a known place for people to commit suicide. He could not comment last week as to the man’s rationale for jumping.

© 2012 Foster’s Daily Democrat

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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