Water rescue at the Sixth Street Bridge/Dam in downtown G.R.

Posted at 6:22 PM, Sep 29, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-30 06:10:18-04

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.  —  The Grand Rapids Police Department says rescue crews pulled a man out of the Grand River downtown late Saturday afternoon – and he was being treated for serious injuries Saturday night.

The location of the incident was the Sixth Street Bridge, near the Sixth Street Dam.

FOX 17 Tower Cam image

GRPD Lieutenant Joseph Trigg told FOX 17 shortly after the 50-year-old man was pulled from the water, a resuscitation attempt was underway. FOX 17’s Matt Lesniak confirmed that at the scene. Trigg later said, although the initial thought was the man had died, it was “later learned that he was taken to a hospital in critical condition”.

Deputies tell us that the man had jumped from the bridge around 5:15 p.m. and was subsequently seen floating in the water, not far north of  Fish Ladder Park. A FOX 17 tower camera spotted two Grand Rapids Fire Department rescue boats in the water around 6 p.m.

Grand Rapids Battalion Chief Collin Kelly told FOX 17 on the bridge that several witnesses had seen the man go over the north side of the bridge. “He struggled in the water. About 50 feet downriver they saw him go under…we never saw the victim resurface, so we launched our waverunners from Riverside Park, and we got our boats launched down at the Fish Ladder…we also deployed our drone with the infrared camera on it to see if we could spot anything there.

“Approximately 25 minutes after the call was received, our boat on the downriver side spotted him go over the Sixth Street dam, right about where the mid-abutment is – just to the east of that. He went down in the boil for a few minutes and they were able to retrieve him. They got him out into the rescue boat and took him to shore, where ALS (ambulance) was waiting. From the reports I had, he was pulse-less and they did CPR on him, took him to the hospital.”

The GRPD said there was a “rumor” that another man might’ve been seen in the water, so rescue crews remained in the water a while conducting a search, just to be sure. But no one else was found.

The Sixth Street Bridge was blocked off by police during the search-and-rescue operation. It reopened at 6:13 p.m. 

The man has been taken to Butterworth Spectrum Health Hospital and is being treated for serious injuries.

However, the incident is still under investigation, anyone with information is asked to call police or silent observer.