Foresthill Bridge scene of suicide plunge

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Witnesses said they watched helplessly Tuesday as a woman leaped 730 feet to her death from the Foresthill Bridge, near Auburn. "I was the only car going across and she just took like a little running jump, put her hand on the rail and over she went, just like that," said Gina Nelson of Foresthill. "It didn't register with me for a few seconds. I was so shocked. It's just so sad." She called 9-1-1 once she got reception on her cell phone and authorities were already aware of situation. Nelson said she looked like a young woman with shoulder length hair. “Nobody was even close enough to even call out to her,” said another onlooker, who declined to give her name. The suicide victim is believed to be the 55th person to die after falling from the span – the third highest in the United States. The bridge overlooks the North Fork of the American River and was the scene last month of a dramatic sheriff’s department lifesaving effort that led to a woman walking away after standing on the outside, holding onto the railing for three hours. This time, there was no chance. The victim jumped before law enforcement negotiators – or passersby – could get close. Witnesses to the suicide leap appeared stunned as they watched a California Highway Patrol helicopter hover near the body. The victim had jumped from the center of the bridge and landed in the water. “I don’t want to glorify this bridge,” said one man, who declined to give his name or comment before driving away. The incident occurred at about 4:30 p.m. The helicopter and sheriff’s department crews were sent to recover the body from the shoreline. The Journal will update this report as more information becomes available. – Gus Thomson, Michelle Miller Carl