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Firefighters end river search believing bridge jumper is OK

| July 9, 2024

DOVER (WJER) (July 9, 2024) – Firefighters say they called off the search for a male who had jumped into the Tuscarawas River from the Wooster Avenue bridge Monday night after a few hours believing he was unharmed.

Dover Fire Captain Joe Minocchi says it started after police were made aware of a video of the male jumping in at around 6:30 p.m.

He says the Dover and New Philadelphia fire departments sent divers looking for the jumper – and they even used a resident’s fishing boat with sonar – but nothing turned up.

“We did not find anybody there,” said Minocchi. “We also had a little bit of evidence on the shoreline down there of some wet footsteps coming up out of the river, so we were pretty certain he’d come out of the water.”

Minocchi says they heard the suspected jumper allegedly had been posting on social media later in the evening.  But the fire department still wanted to confirm that he was safe.

“We’re not concerned about him being arrested or anything like that, we want to make sure he’s ok,” said Minocchi.

Dover police as of Tuesday morning still hadn’t heard from him.

Minocchi reminds everyone that it is never a good idea to jump into the river from any bridge in town.  He says the water was about 10 to 12 feet deep where the male apparently entered.  But divers during their search found a tree, a stop sign, and a bicycle below the surface all just in that area.

“There’s a lot of debris in the river. You can easily go under, get tangled, and not come back up,” he said.

Minocchi says the response was also costly.

“It takes a lot of resources, a lot of time, that were spent here doing this,” said Minocchi.

“What are you going to do, we were all young once, right?” he quipped.

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