Man jumps to his death

Tragedy returned to the French King Bridge Monday afternoon with emergency workers recovering a body from the Connecticut River shortly after a report of a man on the wrong side of the railing.

Few details were available at press time but Mary Carey, spokeswoman for Northwestern District Attorney David Sullivan’s office, said the incident was an apparent suicide.

According to a release from the District Attorney’s office the body recovered from the river was that of Henry Cohen, 60, of West Springfield.

Erving police responded to a 911 call reporting a male subject climbing over the railing and upon arrival observed a body floating in the water downstream from the bridge, according to the release, and Cohen is presumed to have jumped from the bridge prior to the arrival of the Erving Police department.

The incident remains under investigation by the Erving Police and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office.

Erving Police Chief Christopher Blair was first on the scene at the bridge, which spans the Connecticut River between Gill and Erving.

Blair said he received a call at 12:39 p.m. reporting a person on the bridge, but by the time he got there — within 40 seconds, he said — there was no one there.

By 1:15 p.m. emergency workers had brought a body from the river to the beach by Cabot Camp off East Mineral Road on the Montague bank at the confluence of the Millers and Connecticut rivers.

State troopers Nicholas Pellegrino and Jonathan O’Loughlin said they were called to a report of a man on the wrong side of the bridge railing, but were told en-route an emergency response was no longer required and a body was floating in the water when they arrived.

Pellegrino said police had no witnesses yet.

Emergency workers from multiple agencies responded, including the Erving and Turners Falls fire departments, Northfield Dive and Rescue Team, Erving, Montague and state police and the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office.

The Turners Falls Fire Department recovered Cohen’s body from the water with their rescue boat.

The approximately 140-foot high bridge has a long history of suicides, the most recent in April of 2011.

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.

Blair said he had already checked the bridge three times that day before the call, due to its unfortunate history, and expressed concern that publicity will encourage copycats.

You can reach Chris Curtis at:

or 413-772-0261, ext. 257

We need to build a high fence on that bridge, like the Cape Cod Canal has. Screw the view ! 31 people dead ?!

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