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Man's body retrieved from harbor after he jumped off North Washington Street bridge

North Washington Street Bridge scene

Bridge scene during search. Photo by Rosabri Mejia.

A man who jumped into Boston Harbor from the North Washington Street Bridge shortly before 11:40 p.m. was pulled from the water around 12:30 a.m. and brought to Lovejoy Wharf, where WHDH reports he was declared dead.

Numerous people reported seeing him jump to police, who responded to the scene with Boston and Massport firefighters.

Some witnesses also spotted a second man jump into the harbor, in an apparent rescue attempt, but told firefighters that man got out of the water soon after with their help.


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This location is immediately adjacent to where the State Police boat fleet is based, so chances of a successful rescue here are about as high as possible.

Voting closed 5

Without knowing why this person jumped in—was it drunken showmanship? Horseplay? Accident? Or was he genuinely despondent?—never jump in the water fully clothed. The weight and drag of your clothes will likely be too much to overcome.

If you do find yourself in the water without a floatation device, float on your back and get rid of your shoes, pants and shirt. If you are considering entering the water to rescue someone, chances are you should not. But if you do, strip down first if you want to survive. Find floatation devices or something that’s long and can be extended to the distressed person first. Know that a panicking person is probably going to jump on you and cling for dear life; keep your distance and lure them towards the floatation device/boat/shore.

You know all those TV shows/movies where fully clothed people jump in the water and navigate the water with ease? Pure fiction. Most of us would either drown or come quite close to it in those situations. Don’t try this at home.

Voting closed 59

One lasting memory of Navy Bootcamp was removing pants, tie off the ankles, clasp waist and use as flotation device. Of course, that assumes your conscious and lacking head injuries among other matters...

Here's a link: https://youtu.be/oNTSoKg6xHM

Voting closed 31

And practice in a pool if you can. It's kinda fun.

The only reason I didn't mention this is that if you don't know how to do this before you find yourself in trouble, it isn't much help. The video does not show how to add air to the pants while still around your neck and I think that would be a useful addition. (Basically, you are scooping the air in front of you underwater and up through the pant waistline. Wet pants aren't totally airtight, after all.)

Voting closed 12

The parents, lifeguards and kids may think something not so savory is about to happen ;)

Voting closed 15

though it appears the requirement that had Scouts jump in fully dressed, remove all those extra clothes and turn your pants into a flotation device and reinflate it while in the water has been removed from that merit badge. It would have been my first year at summer camp as a Boy Scout and I can still remember that specific requirement.

Swimming MB still includes rescue by reaching or throwing, but not going into the water, that comes in Lifesaving MB. Now that is a tough one. Removal of street clothes within 20 seconds to enter the water and reach a conscious "victim" 30 feet from shore was always a tough one but the non-equipment rescues of both conscious and unconscious "victims" have always been the hardest parts. Especially when that "victim" starts to "panic" as one does when they are drowning and they grab onto you and start taking you under.

Anyways, I'd strongly suggest that anyone without the proper training not enter the water to rescue a drowning victim, it's dangerous enough if you've been properly trained. If there's something you can reach with or throw to the victim, do that, otherwise call 911 and keep a watchful eye on the exact location of the victim. Oh, that reminds me of one of the other challenging skills, jumping into the water and swimming out while never losing eye contact on the victim.

Voting closed 21

Guess you never heard Navy SEALS

Voting closed 8

It isn't necessarily the lack of swimming ability that will do you in, but the drop.

Navy abandon ship drill requires a certain posture heading overboard but you can still break things when you hit.

Water temperature is a factor - the cold will quickly get you even if you hit the water right and swim well.

Voting closed 16

And I would add that if anyone is reading this and has passed Naval swim qualifications/abandon ship drills, they should certainly ignore my advice in favor of their training.

I tend to chime in on posts like this because +20 years ago I had three friends that capsized a Colman canoe in November. They were dressed for November but had no personal floatation devices. Two of my friends made it to shore. A third friend, an average swimmer and 6ft tall, drown in ~6ft of water because he was fully dressed +Timbs + winter jacket. He was just too bogged down to keep his head above water.

I just hope to disabuse people of the TV movie myths about swimming with your clothes on is all. It's not as simple as many of us think to just swim shore/safety fully clothed. Avoid going in the drink fully clothed. Strip if you find yourself accidentally in the water. Strip before you enter the water to save someone. PFDs are your friend. Don't try to Indiana Jones it and swim in full kit.

I think back to that Worcester cop who died saving a drowning kid recently. I don't know the facts, but I wonder if him not being trained for water rescue and possibly being in full uniform was a contributing factor to his drowning.

Voting closed 20

That had to be tough on his buddies.

If I'm paddling in the colder months and the water temps are already low I paddle in a wetsuit and dry top (and pfd). I'm an excellent swimmer even with heavy and wet clothing but the cold is the enemy. If what I'm wearing gets soaked it needs to keep me warm.

If you see someone struggling in the water, your first act shouldn't be to go in after them - it should be to throw them a rope, something they can float on, or something they can float on tied to a rope.

Voting closed 13

Maybe he committed suicide?

Voting closed 13

Voting closed 3

Jumped or is it another case of the Smiley Face Killer??

Voting closed 11

And in this case, there were multiple witnesses (it was right after the Celtics game) who saw him jump.

Do you want a link to how the alleged killer is BS? I can provide one if you like.

Voting closed 23

How dare you try to debunk a time-honored Boston tradition of pushing a good conspiracy. True Bostonians never let facts get in the way.

Voting closed 10

But if people want to believe in them and the Smiley Face Killer to liven up their lives or whatever, who cares? Live and let live.

Voting closed 7

Encouraging beliefs in nonexistent threats is not harmless, for a number of reasons that should not need to be explained.

Voting closed 8

I dont believe for a second that he killed himself or willingly jumped off that bridge. We went to a concert together and half way through he said he was going to the bathroom and i never saw him again. We were having a great time and he was having a blast. The kid is terrified of water and cant swim he wont even go in the shallow end of a pool. His id was found on the bridge and My friend recieved a text from his phone over an hour after he was pulled from the water. The detectives on this case have yet to get back to me after ive left numerous messages on their voicemail. They need to do their damn job. This wasnt an accident

Voting closed 6