Divers search local river for man

PARKERSBURG – First responders and river rescue teams from across the area searched for a body in the Little Kanawha River Monday night, officials said.

The Parkersburg Police and Fire departments were called to the scene after a report of someone jumping from the William P.A. Nicely Bridge, also known as the East Street Bridge, came in just before 7 p.m. Monday.

Firefighters said the search and rescue efforts could take several days.

The height of the bridge is about 50 to 60 feet, officials said.

According to firefighters on the scene, two witnesses reportedly saw someone jump off the bridge into the Little Kanawha River. Emergency medical responders were on the scene in case boat rescuers spotted the reported jumper.

Police said the witnesses were runners training for the Parkersburg News and Sentinel Half Marathon.

Witnesses said the person was possibly a man in their early 20s, officials said.

Capt. Tim Flinn with the Parkersburg Fire Department said the river was about 40-feet deep below the bridge but about 15-feet deep in some places.

The Vienna and Marietta fire department, along with several other area agencies, were called to help with boat rescue operations as police continued to search for the body as the sun went down.

Little Hocking Volunteer Fire Department personnel searched at the mouth of the Little Kanawha and Ohio rivers, officials said.

Firefighters said the boats being used have sonar technology and are able to search the bottom of the river for a possible body.

One lane was closed on each side of the bridge as search efforts were underway, with most of the searching taking place at the bottom of the parking lot for the West Virginia Polo Club on the north side of the river.

The Vienna rescue boat cleared the scene just before 10 p.m. Monday, officials said.

Parkersburg fire Chief Eric Taylor said crews were wrapping up search efforts around 11 p.m. Monday; he was unsure when efforts would be starting again today.