Man Takes 100-foot Plunge Off Twin Bridges, Still not Found

Published 02/08 2014 09:56PM

Updated 02/09 2014 02:18PM

A man jumps from the Twin Bridges taking an icy plunge in front of numerous witnesses, snarling traffic on Highway 41 as emergency crews from Kentucky and Indiana respond. Tonight officials say the search looks grim. The man jumped into the Ohio River around 1 p.m. Several agencies tried to rescue the man, but after an hour without sighting him the rescue turned into a recovery, and as one hour turned into three the effort was called off for the day.
   
Every day thousands drive on the Twin Bridges over the Ohio River, but Saturday one man didn't make it across. "One of the customers said that they were stuck on the bridge, and saw the white pick-up trick parked on the north bound, and saw the gentleman get out and jump." Jennifer Wilkinson works at a nearby convienant store. She says customers watched in horror and disbelieve as the man made a 100 foot plunge into the icy river. "34 years old, male, with dirty blonde hair," said Wilkinson. She says shortly after traffic started backing up, fleets of emergency crews descended on the area. "It was tons. I mean I know I saw at least four ambulances, helicopter, I saw two boats, multiple police."
   
Emergency crews searched on banks, on water, and in the air, but to no avail. Lieutenant Scott Foreman with the Henderson Fire Department combed the Ohio River for the man, and says the search was not easy. "The current, it was extreme, very fast current. Winter river you know typical for a fast current, a lot of driftwood." The water rescue team could not launch into the river on the first attempt because of driftwood. Once they were able to make it on the river the cold temperatures took a toll. "The sides of the boat would freeze, some of the floor was freezing. The rail on the back of the boat was frozen," said Lt. Foreman. Five emergency responder agencies joined in to find the man, they also recruited help from barges. "They're actually a great search tool because they sit elevated above the water so they have a good vantage point and they're not affected by the driftwood like we are," said Lt. Foreman. But even with the extra help, the unidentified man is still missing.
   
The search will resume tomorrow morning, largely along the banks of the river.

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