GALLIPOLIS, Ohio — What began as a rescue has turned into a recovery effort after a woman reportedly jumped from the Silver Memorial Bridge on Friday afternoon.
According to Point Pleasant Fire Chief Jeremy Bryant, who spoke with Ohio Valley Publishing (OVP), witnesses indicated the woman brought her vehicle to a stop on the bridge in the southbound lane and exited. Others on the bridge reportedly attempted to intervene and engage with her but she leapt from the bridge into the water, according to witnesses.
Mason County Sheriff Corey Miller, who also spoke with OVP, reported he heard similar accounts. Miller said witnesses also reported they watched the victim emerge alive from the water and she appeared to attempt to swim before those witnesses lost sight of her. Miller added personnel on a vessel in the water also reported seeing what appeared to later be the deceased victim after she had disappeared from view but the current and conditions were making locating her difficult.
The recovery effort moved to the Gallipolis Public Use Area near City Park where Gallipolis Firefighters hosed off some of the boat ramp, which had been covered by the Ohio River only the day before, so vessels could deploy into high water and a swift current.
Law enforcement and first responders from both Gallia and Mason counties were pulling their resources to attempt to rescue and recover the woman, as were boats from nearby Amherst Madison, reportedly. Miller said his deputies were on an Amherst vessel and a search and recovery boat from the Gallia County Sheriff’s Office. In addition, the Gallipolis Fire Department deployed into the water, assisting the Point Pleasant Fire Department which was also on hand with personnel and a rescue and recovery boat.
At 6:30 p.m., Friday evening, Chief Bryant reported the rescue boats were just being pulled from the water at dark but would return in the morning in an attempt to continue the recovery effort.
Sheriff Miller told OVP, the Mason County Sheriff’s Department is working leads to identify of the victim.
More on this story will appear on the Point Pleasant Register, Gallipolis Daily Tribune and The Daily Sentinel websites and Facebook pages as it becomes available.
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Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.