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Thursday, August 28, 2014

Police investigate death of man who jumped into Merrimack River from Nashua-Hudson bridge

NASHUA – The body of an adult man was pulled from the Merrimack River on Wednesday morning, about 100 feet down the river from the bridge where people say he jumped in what seems to have been a lark.

The body was recovered by New Hampshire Fish & Game divers at about 10:45 a.m. in approximately 8 feet of water. The man’s identity has not been released, pending notification of his family. ...

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NASHUA – The body of an adult man was pulled from the Merrimack River on Wednesday morning, about 100 feet down the river from the bridge where people say he jumped in what seems to have been a lark.

The body was recovered by New Hampshire Fish & Game divers at about 10:45 a.m. in approximately 8 feet of water. The man’s identity has not been released, pending notification of his family.

The victim, an adult white male, was wearing street clothes.

The search began Tuesday night after a Londonderry resident, Chad Gagnon, who was fishing on the Nashua side of the Merrimack River near the twin bridges connecting Nashua and Hudson, reported at about 7 p.m. that he had seen a man jump into the river from the southernmost bridge and disappear underwater.

The Nashua Dive Team came to the scene and searched along with Hudson and Nashua law
enforcement officials, but had found nothing when darkness fell. The search resumed Wednesday morning.

Hudson police are investigating the death.

The two bridges, Veterans and Taylors Falls bridges, are more than 20 feet above the surface of the river.

Gagnon said he was watching the bobber on his fishing line after casting into the Merrimack River on Tuesday evening when a big splash suddenly caught his attention. Seconds later, a man popped to the surface, shaking the water from his face and wearing what appeared to Gagnon to be a smile.

“I thought I heard him call out a name,” Gagnon said late Tuesday night.

Gagnon said the man did not appear to be in any distress but after surfacing two more times, he disappeared.

“I called 911, but I keep wondering if I should have called right away,” Gagnon said.

“I stayed on the line with the dispatcher, and they were there within two, maybe three minutes,” Gaganon said of the Nashua and Hudson departments. “The response was impressive.”

As he kept vigil with other onlookers atop the levee on the Nashua side, Gagnon remembered that he had heard the man count to three just before he jumped. That, plus the fact the man resurfaced multiple times, Gagnon said, led him to believe the jump wasn’t an attempt by the man to take his life.

“From what I could see, it didn’t appear to me like it was a suicide attempt,” he said, pausing to gather his thoughts.

“Man, it’s powerful when it’s right there in front of you,” Gagnon said quietly. “It’s something you hope you never see. It’s something I never want to see again.”

It is common for a body to remain underwater, rather than floating to the surface, for several days after a person drowns.

Telegraph staff writers Don Himsel, Dean Shalhoup and David Brooks contributed to this report.