EAST LIVERPOOL - An East Liverpool woman who survived a fall from the Newell Bridge Saturday had been taken to the emergency room earlier in the day after police responded to her home.
Patrolman Chad Tatgenhorst said Tuesday that officers had responded at midnight to the home of Cynthia Boyce, 55, for a reported domestic call but determined there was no domestic but that Boyce needed to go to the hospital due to a medication issue.
"She went by ambulance and that was the last we heard until the hospital called and said she had walked out," Tatgenhorst said.
While heading out to see if they could locate Boyce, officers were notified by her sister-in-law that she had seen Boyce walking out onto the bridge, and Tatenhorst said he drove his cruiser up to her.
Boyce was in the process of climbing over the railing when Tatgenhorst pulled up.
"I started to say, 'Don't jump,' but before I could say 'jump,' she more or less fell," Tatgenhorst said, adding he heard a loud splash as Boyce struck the water underneath the bridge.
Tatgenhorst and Captain Tom Clark drove down to the river, where they could see Boyce in the water, about 20-25 yards off shore, yelling.
"We kept trying to get her to swim toward us, but she kept saying she couldn't because of her arms," Tatgenhorst said.
He has since been advised by a family member that among injuries Boyce suffered in the fall were two broken arms and broken vertebrae.
Meanwhile, a toll taker on the bridge had notified authorities, and Hancock County sheriff's deputies had arrived on the bridge overhead, with the Newell Volunteer Fire Department launching rescue boats.
Due to the swiftness of the river and the bitter temperatures, the police officers did not enter the water, Tatgenhorst said.
"We knew the boats were coming. It seemed like forever, but they were there as soon as they could get there," he said.
The firefighters were able to pull Boyce into a boat and took her to a launch ramp near Newell, from where an ambulance transported her to East Liverpool City Hospital.
From there, she was flown by medical helicopter to UPMC in Pittsburgh.
A spokesman from the Pittsburgh hospital said Tuesday no additional information is being released about Boyce at this time, including her condition. At last report, her condition was critical.
Although the Newell Bridge has been the site of many jumpers over the years, Tatgenhorst said it was the first time he had responded to such a call.
Unconfirmed reports indicated there has not been a survivor from such a fall or jump in more than 20 years.
A few months ago, a woman crossing the bridge reported seeing a couple kiss before jumping off into the water. No one else witnessed the jump and, thus far, no bodies have surfaced.