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Man survives jump from French King Bridge

GILL — A 20-year-old Greenfield man survived after jumping off the French King Bridge Saturday.

Emergency responders were called to the scene after a witness saw the man jump from the bridge at about 1:30 p.m.

Though those who jump from the 150-foot-high bridge are usually trying to take their own lives, the man said he jumped “for fun,” according to Erving Police Sgt. Corey Greene.

The man, whose name is not being released, was rescued by Turners Falls firefighters, who launched their rescue boat in Turners Falls and raced to the scene.

The jumper broke bones in his back and legs, but managed to swim to shore, according to firefighter Michael Curry.

“The fact that he survived was amazing.”

Firefighters used a stokes rescue basket to get the man into their boat. The patient was rushed to a waiting ambulance and was taken to Baystate Franklin Medical Center, where he was transferred to a helicopter ambulance. Curry said he believed the jumper was flown to Baystate Medical Center in Springfield.

In addition to Turners Falls firefighters, state police, Gill and Erving police and firefighters, the Northfield Dive Rescue Team and Baystate Health Ambulance responded to the scene.

“The dispatchers did a great job” coordinating the response, said Curry. “From the time dispatch sent the call to our arrival on scene, it was less than 10 minutes. The extrication went very smoothly and quickly.”

Earlier this year, another jumper survived the plunge from the bridge to the Connecticut River.

On March 9, a 59-year-old Wendell woman jumped from the bridge and survived the fall and the river’s near-freezing temperatures.

A man who jumped from the bridge in December 2012 died from the fall. Henry Cohen, 60, of West Springfield, took his own life that day, in what the Northwestern District Attorneys Office called an “apparent suicide.”

David Rainville can be reached at:
or 413-772-0261, ext. 279

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