The body of a man who jumped from the Hale Boggs Bridge into the Mississippi River Sunday has not yet been recovered, according to the St. Charles Parish Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriff’s Office began investigating the Luling incident shortly after 4:50 p.m. Sunday, said Sheriff’s Office spokesman Cpl. James Grimaldi. Deputies were dispatched to the scene and observed the man on the bridge.
Officers attempted to negotiate with him, but when additional deputies arrived on scene, the man jumped to the river below, Grimaldi said, adding that the investigation is still ongoing.
Tyler Parker, of Alabama, was visiting the park below the bridge when the incident took place, in town for an air conditioning and heating job. He and his assistant were taking photos of the bridge as a trip landmark when they realized something was wrong.
“We saw the lights, the top of the ambulance on the bridge,” Parker said. “They had paramedics out and I assume they were trying to talk him down.”
The two witnessed the man jump into the river.
“I was almost in shock at first,” he said. “I wasn’t sure if they were doing search and rescue training or something. I was with the fire department for four years and we’ve done those exercises. But after a second, my mind came back up … that was a man. I saw him flailing. We heard him hit the water and the impact … he hit hard.”
Parker said he was in disbelief, but his experience as a firefighter made it not overwhelming.
“Every time it bothers you, but you have to learn to put it away for the job,” he said.
Grimaldi said the Sheriff’s Office has identified the man who jumped, but his name is not being released out of respect for the man’s family.
It is the second time this year that someone has jumped from the bridge.
In January, a Destrehan woman jumped from the bridge and survived the fall.
Over the last six years, four people have been killed after jumping off the Hale Boggs Bridge.