News

Bridge death likely suicide

North Whidbey Dist. 2 Assistant Fire Chief Larry Wall watches as a Coast Guard helicopter searches the waters of Deception Pass for the body of a man who apparently jumped Friday morning. - Rick Levin
North Whidbey Dist. 2 Assistant Fire Chief Larry Wall watches as a Coast Guard helicopter searches the waters of Deception Pass for the body of a man who apparently jumped Friday morning.
— image credit: Rick Levin

A 39-year-old Marysville man recently arrested on domestic violence charges plunged from the Deception Pass Bridge to his death Friday morning.

A note found in a 1970 Chevy pick-up registered to the victim and parked in the bridge’s south parking lot would indicate that the fall was not accidental, Island County Chief Investigator Russ Lindner said Friday.

“There’s some information that leads us to believe this may have been a suicide attempt,” Lindner said.

Rescue teams from Whidbey Island North Fire District 2 retrieved the body at around 10:30 a.m., scaling down in climbing gear from the base of the bridge where it connects with the park’s upper scenic path.

According to Larry Wall, assistant fire chief, the victim was in such a precarious situation among the rocks that crews transferred him to a boat rather than trying to get him back up the rock face.

“The victim jumped off the bridge, but as many times happens, he didn’t make it to the water,” Wall said. Lindner said the location of the body among the rocks might indicate that the victim, unfamiliar with the area, jumped in the early hours of the morning when it was still dark.

The victim, whose name is not being released pending notification of family, was first spotted among the rocks on the Whidbey Island side of the bridge by two separate boaters at around 8:30 a.m., which led to some confusion due to conflicting reports of a body in the water. The Coast Guard conducted extensive water searches until it was determined by such evidence as the truck in the parking lot that there was only one accident victim.

“We did a pretty thorough search to the east,” Wall said, adding that the Coast Guard helicopter went as far as Skagit Bay.

Island County Deputy Mark Plumberg was the first person on the scene, having climbed down to administer aid if necessary.

In all, the rescue effort included both Island and Skagit County sheriff’s deputies, the Coast Guard, the state’s Fisheries Department, U.S. Navy fire officials and North Whidbey Fire Dist. 2.

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