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Last updated 6:37PM ET
April 22, 2021
Search Continues for Whitesburg Bridge Jumper
(APR - Alabama Public Radio ) - Swift currents hampered the search Sunday for a man who jumped about 70 feet into the Tennessee River from the Whitesburg Bridge on an outing with a friend, who also jumped but survived.

Police have not released the names of the two men, in their late 30s, but said they had been living in Huntsville about a year. One is from California, the other Africa.

Police questioned the first jumper and determined that no foul play was involved. Although alcohol was a factor, police called it an unfortunate accident.

Corey Woods of Pulaski, Tenn., who was fishing nearby, told authorities the first jumper hit the water in a cannonball dive Saturday and swam back to the river's south bank. But the second jumper landed flat on his stomach and was being carried downstream when he disappeared, Woods said.

Sharlene Reese, Woods' fishing companion, said the second man seemed hesitant about jumping. He hooked one leg over a bridge barrier and talked on his cell phone.

"He didn't look right," she said. "I could tell he was scared, and I called 911."

Nine more rescue groups joined the Morgan County Rescue Squad in Sunday's search.

Divers from Huntsville Emergency Medical Services Inc. tried an underwater search shortly after sunrise, but pulled out because of the swift and dangerous currents, said William Szczepanski, spokesman for the Morgan squad.

Since then, as many as 17 boats have been dragging the river bottom searching for the missing man.

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