Crime & Public Safety

Man praying on lighthouse mistaken for jumper

The Harbour Town Lighthouse
The Harbour Town Lighthouse Jay Karr

Soon after witnesses reported a man was going to jump off the Harbour Town Lighthouse on Tuesday, deputies learned there had been a misunderstanding.

The man, a tourist from Houston, had been crying at the top of the lighthouse in Sea Pines on Hilton Head Island, but they were tears of joy, according to a Beaufort County Sheriff's Office report. The 53-year-old man had simply become emotional as he prayed and thought about his family, he told deputies.

The Sheriff's Office was contacted after a witness grabbed the man and asked him if he was going to jump. He said he wasn't, but the witness didn't seem convinced, the praying man later told deputies.

The man's daughter was also on top of the lighthouse and told deputies someone asked whether her father was carrying any weapons. Soon after the witness walked away, Sea Pines security officers escorted the man down to the parking lot, where he met with deputies and explained that the witness overreacted.

The man later left with his family, the report said.