PIQUA — A man was saved from probable death after leaping from a bridge over the Great Miami River on Thursday.
Passers-by called Miami County 911 at 12:59 p.m. to report a man had tied a rope around his neck and jumped over the railing on the East Ash Street (U.S. 36) bridge toward the water below.
Deputy Chief Jason Preston of the Piqua Police Department said that upon hearing the call, all available units responded to the location.
Piqua Fire Department medics and rescue equipment immediately responded, as well.
Preston said that the first officer on the scene was Deputy Chief Marty Grove, who heard the call and arrived just 90 seconds after the broadcast.
Grove jumped into the water and waded out to the victim who was “sort of floating on his back” in the middle of the river. Grove supported the victim in the water and cut the rope around the man’s neck, then began the task of bringing him back to shore.
By this time, other officers and firefighters arrived on the scene and all pitched in to effect the rescue.
Preston said that the victim, an unidentified 58-year-old man, apparently from Kansas, had left a suicide note.
No one saw that the man had apparently tied one end of the rope to the trailer hitch of his Jeep SUV, Preston said, although they did see the rope tied around his neck. Preston said that the rope was too long and the man hit the water before reaching the end of the rope.
Preston said that by the time they got the man to a waiting medic unit, he was somewhat alert and talking. He indicated that he was “having a bad day.”
CareFlight was called to transport the man to Miami Valley Hospital. His name and condition have not been released.
Chief Bruce Jamison said of Grove’s actions, “We are very proud of Deputy Chief Grove and of the example that he sets for other members of the department. We are very fortunate to have a senior officer of his dedication as an administrator.”
Grove, who will have completed 25 years with the department in August, is “still ready to jump in when and where needed,” said Jamison.
Police and fire units cleared the scene at 1:50 p.m. There were no injuries during the rescue.