November 17, 2011 in City

Woman who jumped from Monroe bridge rescued from river

By The Spokesman-Review
Jesse Tinsley photoBuy this photo

Rescuers power upstream on the Spokane River near the Maple Street Bridge on Wednesday after a woman jumped from the Monroe Street Bridge.
(Full-size photo)

Map of this story's location

A woman was rescued Wednesday from the Spokane River after surviving a 135-foot jump off the Monroe Street Bridge.

As soon as she leapt from the west side railing at the center of the bridge, police rescuers who had just arrived to the scene ran to their patrol cars and headed downstream.

Spokane firefighters, who were already on their way, joined officers in setting up watch points along the river following the 10:20 a.m. incident.

Crews ran to the shorelines.

The 41-year-old woman drifted quickly downstream. Current in the river was running at a low level.

Rescuers reported by radio that they had seen her head bobbing out of the water. She eventually reached an eddy where the swirl brought her close enough to the north bank that rescuers could get a hold on her, said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

She was grabbed by rescuers along a rugged strip of city-owned conservation land less than 200 yards downstream from the Maple Street Bridge.

Fire officials said she was suffering hypothermia as well as multiple injuries. She was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

“It’s incredible,” Schaeffer said of the survival and rescue. “It was pretty much a miracle.”

He said she easily could have drowned even after surviving the fall. “I don’t think she had a lot of time,” Schaeffer said.

The assistant chief credited teamwork between the fire and police departments, including previous planning on river rescues that includes a protocol to dispatch ambulances.

Thirty-two firefighters responded to the incident, plus police officers and ambulance crews.

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