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Man jumps to death

5th to die on Mossdale bridge in 15 years

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Man jumps to death

Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department divers search for a man who reportedly jumped from the train trestle over the San Joaquin River at Mossdale Crossing early Monday afternoon.

GLENN KAHL/The Bulletin

POSTED August 20, 2013 2:07 a.m.

LATHROP — A retired Oakdale fisherman had two lines along the bank of the San Joaquin River at Mossdale Crossing when he heard a loud splash near the base of the railroad trestle.    

Don Potts, 56, said he looked up to see a man pop out of the water waving his arms before he submerged again.

Potts said his brief glimpse of the individual put his age between his 30s and 40s with a bald head as he surfaced in the water at about 1:20 p.m.

Divers from Lathrop-Manteca Fire Department and Sheriff’s deputies responded to the scene within minutes, launching a rescue boat just north of the railroad bridge.  They were followed up by two Sheriff’s boat crews that found the man’s body some 50 yards north of the trestle after successfully dragging the bottom.

Authorities notified the railroad and halted all scheduled train traffic that might have passed over the bridge where a firefighter and a Manteca Ambulance supervisor were monitoring the search effort.  The fisherman noted that the victim had left a food bag and a bottle of water on the bridge where he jumped.  There were reportedly no other witnesses in the area. He was alone at the time of the mishap.

“I was just coming out to have a cold beer and put a couple of lines in the water,” the fisherman said, adding that this was his favorite fishing spot on the river.  “I didn’t expect to see anything like this.  I got out my cell phone and called 911.”

He said the tide was flat at 1 p.m. That would have kept the man from moving down stream with it picking up to only about two miles an hour after the mishap.  The tide changed right after the paramedics arrived, he said.

Lathrop-Manteca Fire Chief Gene Neeley noted that in the last 15 years there have been five deaths of people jumping off the trestle and another 10 who suffered extensive injuries.

The last death was on Feb. 25. 2012. That’s when 21-year-old  Angela Marie Jacquez of Lathrop apparently slipped and fell while climbing the bridge. Jacquez came to rest on n the railroad tarcks wghere she apparently struck her head. The incident happened during pre-dawn hours. The 2010 Sierra High graduate had just joined the National Guard.

Sheriff’s spokesman Deputy Les Garcia said deputies would now be working on establishing the man’s identity and locating his next of kin.

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