January 1, 2012
Portland and Fire responded again today to reports of a jumper off of the Interstate 205 Bridge. This is the second jumper from the bridge in the past three days. At 4:13 p.m., dispatchers received a call from a man who witnessed an individual, described as a female in her mid thirties, jump from the southbound lanes of the bridge above the North Channel of the Columbia River. The individual who jumped from the bridge was seen struggling in the river for a short time before submerging.
A Water Rescue Incident was dispatched at 4:13 p.m.; upon receiving details of the incident, Commanders balanced the response to a Dive Incident. Though the Dive Van, a vehicle that transports divers and equipment, is located at Portland Fire Station 1 (Old town), many other dive team members are dispersed throughout the city allowing for rapid response to all area waterways. This afternoon divers responded from Station 2 (Parkrose), Station 7 (Mill Park), and Station 1 (Old town). Land based resources from Portland Fire Station 12 (Sandy Blvd.) arrived on scene and assumed command until the arrival of Battalion Chief 3 a short time later. Fireboats from Station 17 (Hayden Island), Vancouver Fire, Port of Portland Fire, and the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office also responded. Firefighters located the witness and worked to determine the last seen point of the individual who jumped; establishing a quality last seen point is crucial in determining a location from which to begin search operations-this would not have been possible without the willingness of the witness to remain on scene until the arrival of fire crews.
Fireboats from multiple agencies worked to establish a plan for shuttling divers and equipment to the last seen point, Fireboat 17 began dragging for the individual immediately. As divers arrived on scene and prepared to dive, high current and excessive amounts of debris, the result of recent rains, presented an extreme hazard to water based units. As darkness set in, dive team operators and Incident Command made the difficult decision that deterioration of conditions had reached the point at which divers would be unable to safely operate. Fire boats remained on scene searching for the individual until 6:15. The individual who jumped has not been located.
On December 30th, at 1:13 p.m., crews responded to another jump incident at the same location. Crews aboard a fireboat from the Port of Portland, working with Portland Fire units on-shore located the individual who was in cardiac arrest. Resuscitative efforts were initiated without delay; it is unknown whether the patient survived.
During the same period this afternoon that search and rescue efforts continued on the I-205 incident, two additional calls for marine response were received. First, a boat fire that turned out to be a large bonfire on-shore; second, a report of two individuals in the Willamette River near Oaks Park-a rescue craft from Portland Fire Station 1 (Old town) made contact with the individuals who had reached the shore and determined that neither had a medical need. A Rescue Boat from Station 21 (Eastbank/Hawthorne) was able to recover the kayak the two were forced to abandon mid-stream.
Portland Fire reminds individuals who are depressed or suicidal that resources are available; Multnomah County has crisis and suicide counselors available by telephone 24 hours a day/7 days a week who can be reached at (503) 988-4888 or 1-800-716-9769. Individuals fearing imminent harm to themselves or others are urged to call 911 immediately.
Portland Fire & Rescue