Man Rescued From Icy Connecticut River In Hartford

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HARTFORD — City police and firefighters walked and crawled on river ice to rescue a man who had jumped from the Bulkeley Bridge Thursday.

The man was seriously injured, said Hartford Lt. Robert Allan, a leader of the capital region dive team.

The incident happened about 1 p.m. A man who was sitting on a bridge railing talked briefly to state troopers before jumping, Allan said.

The man was stuck in the ice. While he initially was unconscious, he began moving after a few minutes and was able to talk to rescuers, he said.

Allan, who was at the scene, alerted the dive team, but they couldn’t launch boats because of the ice. Instead, a team of four police officers — including Allan — and two firefighters went out on foot, walking and crawling along the jagged ice to the man, who was 650 feet away, he said.

Allan said he and two firefighters lay on their stomachs and pulled the man out of the ice. They put him on a backboard, Allan said, and carried him slowly over the ice. They couldn’t pull or push him because sections of the ice were melted, he said.

A firefighter from East Hartford was injured while helping with the rescue. Chief Training Officer James Silver went to the roof of a building on East River Drive in East Hartford to get a view of the man and direct rescuers to him.

He stepped onto a snow-covered skylight and fell through, dropping 16 feet to a stairwell landing and another 6 feet to the landing below, Chief John Oates said.

Silver broke his ankle and may have broken his nose, he said. He was treated at Hartford Hospital and discharged late Thursday night, he said.

“As bad as it was, it could have been worse,” Oates said.


By Christine Dempsey, Hartford Courant

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