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Bellingham man dies after jumping from Alaska bridge

Tyler Jones of Bellingham jumped off the John O’Connell Bridge, shown from 2013, in Sitka, Alaska, on Aug. 21 and died. Jones apparently planned to swim to nearby docks.
Tyler Jones of Bellingham jumped off the John O’Connell Bridge, shown from 2013, in Sitka, Alaska, on Aug. 21 and died. Jones apparently planned to swim to nearby docks. Courtesy to The Bellingham Herald

A Bellingham man who had successfully jumped off an Alaska bridge before died Friday night, Aug. 21, when he leaped into the water in Sitka.

Tyler Jones, 29, told his friend he planned to swim to shore and then jumped from the John O’Connell Bridge at 11 p.m. Friday, according to the Alaska Dispatch News. His body was recovered Saturday by fire department divers.

The bridge is about 50 feet above the water at its highest point. It connects the town of Sitka on Baranof Island to an airport and Coast Guard Station on Japonski Island.

“From what I understand, he had jumped off the bridge before and was a strong swimmer and an athletic guy,” Sitka Fire Chief Miller told the Alaska Dispatch News. “He stripped down quite a bit, and said (to his friend), ‘I will meet you over there at the lightering facility,’ and then he jumped off.”

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