A man jumped off the Washington Avenue Bridge into the Mississippi River in an attempted suicide Saturday, according to police reports. Officers arrived at the bridge and saw the man, who appeared to be in his early 50s, sitting on the edge of the pedestrian level, the report said.
The man told officers he planned to jump in three minutes. According to the report, while officers were trying to speak with the man, he jumped off the bridge into the river.
He survived the fall but refused to swim to shore, said Steve Johnson, deputy chief of police for the University. The man attempted to avoid officers and continue swimming, but a few officers were able to make contact with him, Johnson said.
He said the man had been complaining of back pain after he jumped, so the officers stabilized his spine on a floating backboard in case of a spinal injury.
The man was picked up by a fire department rescue boat and taken to Hennepin County Medical Center for treatment, Johnson said.
He said the man, who refused to tell officers his name, was fortunate to survive a fall that could have been fatal.
“He jumped in the river and was able to swim away,” Johnson said, “so he was very lucky.”