Search suspended after man jumps from DeSoto Bridge

HERALD STAFF REPORTNovember 3, 2013 

PALMETTO -- Authorities suspended the search for a man who jumped off the DeSoto Bridge and into the Manatee River on Saturday afternoon.

According to "numerous" witnesses, the man stopped his vehicle, got out, stood on the top rail of the bridge and jumped off the east side some time around 1 p.m., Bradenton police said in a report.

"Once in the water, the man yelled up to the as

sembled witnesses that he couldn't swim," the report states. "The man floundered, then floated unresponsive before falling below the surface of the water."

Multiple search and rescue vessels from various agencies, including the Bradenton Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard, responded to search the river.

The man's identity was still unknown Saturday night, Palmetto Police Deputy Chief Scott Tyler said.

The Palmetto Police Department took the lead in the search after the man apparently jumped from the Palmetto side of the bridge.

The two-day Taste of Manatee food festival was being held nearby Saturday at the Bradenton Riverwalk. It continues Sunday.

The DeSoto Bridge is a portion of U.S. 41 and U.S. 301 that connects Palmetto and downtown Bradenton and spans the Manatee River.

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