By NANETTE LoBIONDO GALLOWAY
LONGPORT – The U.S. Coast Guard Delaware Bay Sector suspended its search this morning for a man who reportedly jumped off the John F. Kennedy Bridge in Longport Wednesday night. The Coast Guard searched through the night and found no evidence of someone in the water along the Intracoastal Waterway.
Longport Volunteer Fire Department Chief Levon “Lefty” Clayton said the department responded to a 911 call received at 8:47 p.m. Aug. 3 stating that a passing motorist saw a male jump off the bridge at mid-span into the water below. The driver pulled over to the side of the road to make the 911 call and the department’s Marine 3 Unit was dispatched and on location by 9:05 p.m.
“We searched with the incoming tide along with a U.S. Coast Guard out of Ocean City and a helicopter from the Atlantic City Air Station,” Clayton said. “We did a thorough search but found nothing.”
Margate’s Marine Unit also assisted in the search of the waterway up to Vendome Avenue in Margate. The Coast Guard also searched along the Risley Channel branch of the waterway.
“We searched until 10:01 p.m. and returned to the station, but the Coast Guard and NJ State Police Marine Unit continued the search,” Clayton said.
No one has been found as of this publication, and the NJ State Police public information officer was unavailable for comment.
Clayton said Longport Police checked bayfront homes between the bridge and 29th Avenue to see if anyone was seen climbing up onto decks or getting out of the water.
The only description of the man was that he was fully clothed.
Clayton said he heard the Coast Guard helicopter flying up and down the waterway at around 6:30 a.m. Thursday morning, but the search has since been called off.
The Coast Guard follows certain parameters for searches based on water temperature, which today is reported to be 71.4 degrees. A representative of the Coast Guard’s Delaware Bay Sector said the search was suspended after no evidence was found.
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