LaConner man survives jump at Deception Pass

A 47-year-old LaConner man jumped off Deception Pass bridge in a apparent suicide attempt, but was immediately pulled out of the swirling water below by boaters Tuesday morning.

Russ Lindner, chief criminal investigator with the Island County Sheriff’s Office, said five witnesses at the scenic spot watched Jeffrey Thostenson casually walk out on the bridge, throw a leg over the rail and jump off.

An elderly couple who were boating in the area heard the splash and the yelling from the bridge and immediately went over to the figure in the water. A couple of men who were fishing in the area in another boat managed to pull Thostenson aboard and take him to the Cornet Bay dock.

Lindner said the incident was first reported at 9:50 a.m. The boaters had Thostenson onboard in less than two minutes.

Citizens, a park ranger and emergency personnel at the dock worked to keep him breathing. Thostenson was transported to Island Hospital in Anacortes and then airlifted to Harborview Medical Center in Seattle.

Late Tuesday afternoon, Thostenson was in critical condition with spinal and chest injuries.

Lindner said Thostenson parked his 1986 Mercury Marquis at the bridge before jumping off. The car was registered in his name with his address at his mother’s home in LaConner.

“If it wasn’t for how the boaters reacted immediately ... and a woman getting on her cell phone and calling 911, that guy wouldn’t have had a chance,” Deputy Joe Uhrich said. “There was really a quick response from everyone. Park rangers, Fire District 2, us, everyone.”

Staff intern Cynthia Woolbright contributed to this story.

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