KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- Fire Department rescue crews searched the frigid Missouri River near downtown Kansas City for nearly two hours for two people who jumped off of a highway bridge into the water.
Witness reported seeing two people and possibly a child jump from the Bond Bridge before noon Thursday, but the witness likely mistook a blanket the woman was holding for a baby, said police Capt. Steve Young.
Witnesses told authorities that a man in a light-colored jacket and woman in a dark hoodie parked a truck along the side of the bridge roadway, walked the length of the bridge and climbed over the waist-high guardrails, said Fire Deputy Chief Jeff Grote. He said the couple “stood on the other side for a short amount of time” before jumping.
Snow was also falling heavily and the temperature was below freezing in the area Thursday. Garrett said the water is turbulent and cold and that the shock of hitting the surface could be life-threatening.
Three fire department boats scoured the river for the couple, but disbanded at about 1:15 p.m., Grote said. The search was called off because survival was not likely from that height, which fire officials estimated to be equivalent to about four or five stories.
“Typically when we have jumpers off bridges that high ... when they do impact with the water it knocks the air out of their lungs and they could travel a great distance under water before they surface,” Grote said. “Plus the weather is getting worse by the second and it’s not the safest of conditions to have all these guys out in the boats now.”
The truck left behind on the bridge would help authorities identify the couple, and notify relatives, he said.
Young said police were continuing to investigate the reported incident and refrained from calling it a double-suicide.
“We’re making no assumptions on what was behind it,” he said.