Body found of man who jumped from Broad River bridge

The body of a 41-year-old Beaufort man who jumped from the Broad River bridge earlier this week was recovered near the bridge Thursday morning.

Lt. Gentry Thames, spokesman for the S.C. Department of Natural Resources, said a motorist traveling northbound over the bridge about 7:30 a.m. spotted something in the water. Crews from DNR and the Beaufort County Sheriff's Office later confirmed that it was the body of 41-year-old Water Earl Pinkney. The body was recovered near Rose Island, Thames said.

Witnesses said Pinkney stripped off his clothes and leapt from the 50-foot-high, 1.6-mile-long Coursen-Tate Crossing that spans the Broad River at about 9 a.m. Tuesday. Local, state and federal authorities searched all day Tuesday and Wednesday for Pinkney and had begun searching Thursday when the motorist spotted the body.

Pinkney's body was transported to the Medical University of South Carolina in Charleston for an autopsy, said Beaufort County Coroner Ed Allen. The autopsy was scheduled for late Thursday, Allen said.