[UPDATE] Potential Jumper Retrieved From Tappan Zee Bridge Scaffolding

A New Rochelle man was taken into custody after attempting to jump off the Tappan Zee bridge early Sunday afternoon.

UPDATE: Sunday, May 6, 2012, 4:30 p.m.

The person who attempted to jump off the Tappan Zee bridge early Sunday afternoon has been described as a New Rochelle man, 55, who was "despondent over personal issues," according to Sgt. John Antonelli of the New York State Police, Troop T.

Sergeant Antonelli was at the scene as emergency workers successfully prevented the man from jumping off the bridge. Units from Rockland assisted in the effort. 

At 1:06 p.m. dispatchers received calls from motorists describing a man exiting his car mid span. One minute later, New York State Police arrived at the scene and attempted to locate the individual.

"We weren't sure if he jumped," said Sergeant Antonelli, who has 20 years of experience with situations like this one. Police spotted the man on a platform approximately 25 feet below the roadway.

At that point, police were unsure of what the outcome would be. "It's a case by case basis," said Sergeant Antonelli. "You have to ascertain why the subject is despondent."

Police negotiated with the man for an hour, until 2:09 p.m., when he agreed to surrender. Local fire departments assisted in the rescue by placing a harness on the man and lifting him to safety.

"It's up to the person to realize that life is worth living," said Sergeant Antonelli about when the man might have decided not to jump. 

The man was taken into custody and brought to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla for psychological evaluation around 3 p.m. His family has been notified.

Original Story:

A man who was possibly attempting to jump from the Tappan Zee Bridge but got hung up on the scaffolding below, has been retrieved, report New York State Police.

At 1:09 p.m., the call came in to Tarrytown Police that there was a possible jumper mid-span on the bridge. Emergency crews assembled at the Tarrytown Marina, including the Tarrytown Fire Department's Special Operations unit, Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, EMS workers and Westchester County Fire officials. All they could do was watch the bridge and its buzzing helicopters from afar and hope it would be a rescue and not a recovery.

The workers received word over police radio at 1:55 p.m. that the man had been retrieved and was being transported southbound on the bridge to the Tarrytown State Police barracks. “Situation under control,” said the dispatch.

Tarrytown State Police troopers were not offering any further information on the matter at this time.

Traffic is now backed up for miles in both directions.

Tom Farrington of Westchester County Fire, among those at the Tarrytown waterfront, said it was unclear at this point whether the man jumped or climbed down onto the scaffolding. Units were assembled here in case he jumped, and negotiators and Tactical Rescue Team members were called to the bridge to talk him out of it and pull him up with ropes as necessary. 

“Better to get him to go up than come down,” Farrington said.  

William Demarest May 18, 2012 at 02:43 PM
One of my concerns about suicide incidents or attempts on the Tappan Zee Bridge is that the lives of police and volunteer firefighters are put at risk in rescue and recovery efforts. In a recent incident, a volunteer firefighter fell into the Hudson River, but escaped injury.
Susan Troop May 18, 2012 at 04:09 PM
Because there are people on both sides who have an inflated sense their own importance and feel the need to push the views that are force fed to them by their respective "fair and balanced" news sources. I can't imagine that they are irrational enough to believe their ranting will change anyone else's view on anything, but they do fail to understand that they just anger those in the middle. The best thing to do, I suppose, is to just read the story and skip the comments. They rarely add anything of significance to an article.
Mystery Man May 18, 2012 at 05:27 PM
The fire and ambulance crews respond without hesitation to do their jobs and are volunteers. They, including the police, are at risk every time they respond to any call as was seen on this call as one firefighter was injured in this attempted rescue/recovery. Sucide is a very selfish act as their loved ones now bear the burden to pick up the pieces and blame themselves for something they think they said, they did or didn't recognize the signs leading to this. Many families are shattered forever and many never recover. I feel for all the families impacted for every time someone does this. Lets tear down this bridge to remove any possibility of any one trying sucide once the new bridges are built and have tall barriers that are hard to climb.
Don Sutherland May 18, 2012 at 07:29 PM
Suicide is a complex problem. Attributing suicide to whether a President or any other elected official has a "D" or "R" after his or her name detracts from a serious discussion of the issue.
Diane Fiorella May 18, 2012 at 11:59 PM
DS, my sentiments exactly.


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