2 people dive into Beaufort River since Monday

Authorities say neither was suicide attempt

achristnovich@beaufortgazette.comDecember 18, 2012 

Port Royal police officers and deputies from the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office prepare to leave their staging area at the Port Royal Landing Marina on Tuesday after a woman was rescued from the Beaufort River on the Lady's Island side of the J.E. McTeer Bridge.

12182012 BOB SOFALY

The second person in as many days plunged into the chilly Beaufort River on Tuesday; neither incident is being treated as a suicide attempt, according to the emergency-responders called to treat them or fish them out of the water.

Witnesses called 911 at about 1:30 p.m. Tuesday after a woman jumped from the J.E. McTeer Bridge on S.C. 802. Three fire departments, two law-enforcement agencies and Beaufort County EMS responded.

The first to arrive found a 33-year-old woman swimming in the river and kept her from drifting away by lowering a life vest on a rope from the bridge, according to Lady's Island-St. Helena Fire District spokesman Lee Levesque.

The Port Royal Landing harbor master and two emergency rescuers pulled her from the water, according to a news release from the Port Royal Police Department.

It took about 15 minutes for firefighters to get her out of the water and into an ambulance, according to Capt. John Robinson of the town of Port Royal Fire Department. She was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.

Earlier in the day, Port Royal Police received a missing persons report about the woman. Officers were told she was "not mentally stable and has a fascination with swimming in large bodies of water,'" according to Investigator Andre Massey.

The woman was logged in the National Crime Information Center as a "missing endangered adult," according to Massey, but jumped before a public alert could be issued.

The woman will not face criminal charges, Massey said.

At 3:30 p.m. Monday, an intoxicated 29-year-old man was arrested after he stripped to his boxers and dove from a sea wall into the river from Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park.

A witness said the man left his guitar at a downtown bar, removed his clothes and cowboy boots near the river and jumped in. He swam around for a few minutes but was pulled to shore by a boater before a police boat or emergency personnel reached him, according to Beaufort Police Chief Matt Clancy. He was taken to Beaufort Memorial Hospital and arrested early Tuesday, according to the Beaufort County Detention Center jail log.

The jail log lists the man's address as Oklahoma City, Okla.

He was charged with public drunkenness and diving off the seawall. As of Tuesday night, he remained in jail with bail set at $1,355, according to the jail log.

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