Man jumps from Longley Bridge, saved by rescuers

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AUBURN — Police and firefighters rescued a man who jumped from the Longley Bridge early Monday evening.

Four men from out of state were crossing the bridge from the Hampton Inn in Lewiston when a man, standing on the outside rail on the Great Falls side of the bridge, cursed them, they said.

As the four men arrived at Gritty McDuff’s at the Auburn end of the bridge, four or five police officers were already at the scene.

Eventually, the man jumped into the river.

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“The man wasn’t swimming; he was barely treading water,” and his whole head went underwater numerous times, but for no great length of time, said a Gritty McDuff’s employee, who did not want to be identified.

As the man slowly floated downriver, police yelled, “‘Swim over here, swim over here,'” the bar employee said.

Auburn police Lt. Laurie Woodhead said Auburn and Lewiston police were sent to the Longley Bridge at 6:04 p.m. for a man in his mid-30s who threatened to jump.

“Police made contact with the male, who was hanging onto a pole from the outside of the bridge,” Woodhead said. “Trained negotiators were talking with the male, who suddenly leapt from the bridge into the river.”

The Auburn Fire Department rescue boat was launched shortly afterward below Auburn Plaza. The man was almost to the Bernard Lown Peace Bridge before rescuers pulled him from the water.

His injuries were not life-threatening and he was transported to the hospital by the Auburn Fire Department, officials said.

While the rescue at Auburn Plaza was taking place, another woman on the Longley Bridge was hysterical, crying and threatening to jump into the river. A man, later identified as her boyfriend, was having difficulty holding her back. She was brought to Auburn Plaza, where police were notified and helped her.


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