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Possible Jumper Rescued From Bob Michel Bridge

Peoria firefighters and police rescued a man who threatened to jump off the Bob Michel Bridge early Saturday morning.

According to a Peoria Fire Department media release, first responders were called to the bridge shortly after 1 a.m. They discovered the unidentified man on the catwalk near the center of bridge that carries Illinois Rt. 40 over the Illinois River between Peoria and East Peoria.

Police and fire crews tracked the man from one side of the bridge to the other, while a fire department boat was dispatched for a potential rescue from the river.

After police and firefighters spent hours trying to talk the man to safety, members of the Technical Rescue Team were lowered to the catwalk by rope in the darkness. They convinced the man to return to the side of the bridge, secured him to a harness and assisted him over the ledge. Firefighters then released him to police.

The fire department said the incident lasted nearly three hours; no one was injured.

The rescue was the second incident at the bridge in a 12-hour period.  Shortly before 5 p.m. Friday, firefighters responded to a report of a woman jumping into the river.

Witnesses in the area reported seeing the woman jump, while witnesses at a nearby hotel said they saw a woman in the water yelling for help.

Firefighters using sonar equipment scanned the river for several hours. Although possible human images were seen and a pair of women’s shoes was located on the river’s surface, divers did not find anyone.

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline can be reached through its website or by calling 1-800-273-TALK, or 1-800-273-8255.

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Contact Joe at jdeacon@ilstu.edu.