LEWISTON, Idaho -- A Clarkston man survived an apparent jump from a Lewiston railroad bridge Tuesday afternoon, though he remained hospitalized in critical condition after the fall.
Lewiston police said Steven L. Townsend, 47, was rescued from the river after a more than 100-foot jump from the railroad bridge that crosses the Clearwater River at Fifth Street at about 3:30 p.m. Tuesday.
Witnesses told emergency responders Townsend apparently landed in the water on his back. He had been unconscious and floating facedown in the water for about 15 minutes by the time Lewiston Fire Capt. Phil Ashe was able to swim to the middle of the river and rescue him about 150 feet downstream from the bridge.
"Capt. Ashe had a flotation device and swam out and got him," said Battalion Chief Bernie Sander with the Lewiston Fire Department.
Lewiston police said Townsend and a friend had been riding bicycles in the area of the Lewiston Levee Bypass when the friend told officers Townsend decided to climb atop the bridge and jump off. He showed no indication of any suicidal thoughts, police said.
"He climbed up to the top just to intentionally jump off," Lewiston Police Capt. Tom Greene said.
Medics performed CPR on Townsend at the river's edge and while he was being taken by ambulance to St. Joseph Regional Medical Center. Police said Townsend is believed to have suffered collapsed lungs, but had blood pressure upon arrival at the hospital.
Townsend was under evaluation in the emergency room for several hours before a nursing supervisor listed him in critical condition Tuesday night.
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(c) 2011, Lewiston Tribune, Idaho