Body found in ocean believed to be man who jumped from I-95 bridge in Portsmouth

Posted Aug. 12, 2012, at 5:28 a.m.

PORTSMOUTH, N.H. — The New Hampshire Marine Patrol said while they have yet to confirm the identity of a body found two-miles off shore from Ordiorne Point Wednesday afternoon, they believe it to be the man who jumped from the I-95 bridge on Wednesday, Aug. 1, into the Piscataqua River.

“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.”

According to Associated Press reports, a fishing vessel crew contacted the New Hampshire Marine Patrol and the U.S. Coast Guard at 2:32 p.m. Wednesday to report the discovery of a  body. The subject, an adult male, was recovered from the ocean near Ordiorne Point with assistance from the U.S. Coast Guard. He was found approximately five miles from the I-95 bridge.

The subject was transported to Concord to await an autopsy from the office of the Medical Examiner, according to the state Marine Patrol. Officials say the medical examiner’s assistance will help to confirm the victim’s identity.

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 that name. Officials said they are working with the man’s family to respect their wishes on how to proceed.

Further information is limited at this time.

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. A 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 hit the water, but did not see him come back up. Officials reported the bridge is approximately 200 feet high.

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 have 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.

The incident occurred amid preparations for a suicide prevention talk scheduled to be held in the city that night, according to the Portsmouth Herald.

©2012 Foster’s Daily Democrat (Dover, N.H.)

Distributed by MCT Information Services

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