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Divers search after report of person jumping from French King Bridge

  • Rescue personnel can be seen through the railing of the French King Bridge searching for a report of a person jumping from the bridge on Monday. . Recorder/Paul Franz

    Rescue personnel can be seen through the railing of the French King Bridge searching for a report of a person jumping from the bridge on Monday. . Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rescue personnel in boats and along the shore in Montague look for a person reported to have jumped from the French King Bridge Monday.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    Rescue personnel in boats and along the shore in Montague look for a person reported to have jumped from the French King Bridge Monday. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rescue personel scour the Connecticut River just down stream from the French King Bridge on Monday after witnesses reported a man jumping from the structure.  Recorder/Paul Franz

    Rescue personel scour the Connecticut River just down stream from the French King Bridge on Monday after witnesses reported a man jumping from the structure. Recorder/Paul Franz Purchase photo reprints »

  • Rescue personnel can be seen through the railing of the French King Bridge searching for a report of a person jumping from the bridge on Monday. . Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Rescue personnel in boats and along the shore in Montague look for a person reported to have jumped from the French King Bridge Monday.  Recorder/Paul Franz
  • Rescue personel scour the Connecticut River just down stream from the French King Bridge on Monday after witnesses reported a man jumping from the structure.  Recorder/Paul Franz

ERVING — Area fire departments searched the river below the French King Bridge Monday afternoon after another apparent jump from the bridge.

Two rescue boats could be seen on the water by the bridge at 1:30 p.m. Trooper Gary Darling of the State Police unit attached to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office said it was confirmed somebody was in the water, but the flow rate was too high to put a diver in the river.

“Nobody has been found yet, we’re still trying to identify who it might be,” Darling said. Police said the incident was reported at noon by a passerby.

According to a release from the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office, Gill police received reports from witnesses that a male had jumped off the French King Bridge and divers from the State Police and Northfield Dive Team are expected to search the Connecticut River today if the flow rate allows.

Below the bridge to fish on a hot late spring afternoon, Bob Pruitt said he witnessed the fall.

“I heard a scream, I looked up about the time the body hit the water. He never resurfaced,” Pruitt said. “It’s sad somebody would take their life that way.”

Darling said he could not comment on whether any abandoned vehicles had been found by the relatively isolated bridge. Police were earlier photographed trying to enter a pickup truck.

The DA’s office asked any boaters along the Connecticut River south of the bridge to report any suspicious observations to the State Police or call 911. The State Police barracks in Shelburne can be reached at 413-625-6311.

The French King Bridge carries the French King Highway or Route 2 across the Connecticut River from Gill to Erving. It has been the site of dozens of suicides since its construction in 1932.

In 2009, police said that between 26 and 31 people were known to have leapt from the bridge since its construction in 1932, with four survivors. There have been four apparent suicides since and a man survived what he said was a recreational jump last summer, with severe injuries. In April, police were able to talk two people down from the edge of the approximately 140-foot high bridge.

Franklin County Crises Services can be reached at 413-774-5411 or 800-562-0112.

You can reach Chris Curtis at: ccurtis@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

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