Bradenton man dies in jump from Sunshine Skyway bridge

December 5, 2012 

ST. PETERSBURG -- St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue recovered the body of a deceased male in waters beneath the Sunshine Skyway Bridge Wednesday morning.

The man was identified later as Mark Mason Esformes, 35, of Bradenton.

About 8:06 a.m., witnesses reported the man stopped his vehicle and jumped over the bridge’s edge, said Lt. Joel Granata, spokesman for St. Petersburg Fire and Rescue.

A Bay News 9 helicopter flying overhead spotted the man in the water.

“We talked to them on the radio,” Granata said. “They were able to guide us to where they found the body.”

Esformes’ body was recovered about 8:44 a.m. and taken to O’Neill’s Marina where it was turned over to the Medical Examiner’s Office.

“It was pretty quick to find him,” Granata said. “The call came in, but that’s not the time we’re on scene. We don’t have a station at the Skyway, but the boat is there.”

The Coast Guard also responded with an air crew from Clearwater and a boat crew from St. Petersburg.

Also assisting was the Florida Highway Patrol and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission.

This is the 11th death reported from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge this year. There have been two survivors and four saved from jumping. Another 12 possible jumps have been reported, according to a website that tracks bridge activity.

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