Report of Suicide Spurs Late-Night Search of Canal

July 21, 1995 (~estimated)

Report of Suicide Spurs Late-Night Search of Canal

A passing motorist, who saw a woman jump from the Washington Road Bridge into the Delaware and Raritan Canal Monday night, ignited a chain of events that had police and rescue workers from Princeton and West Windsor townships searching in vain for a suicide victim.

With dozens of volunteers already searching the canal by boat and on foot, evidence accumulated suggesting that the person seen jumping into the water had probably been one of a party of swimmers who left the area before police arrived.

According to Township Police, the unidentified witness saw a person jump from the bridge over the canal, and continued driving along Washington Road, until he or she came across a State Trooper. The trooper notified Princeton Township police, and the search was on.

Personnel from the Township Police Department, the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad, the Princeton Fire Department, and from sister organizations in West Windsor Township, all converged on the stretch of canal between Washington Road and Harrison Street when the 11:34 p.m. call came in.

With the Princeton First Aid and Rescue Squad in command of the situation, rescue workers from Princeton took a position at the Washington Road bridge. Squads from West Windsor moved downstream, to the Harrison Street bridge.

Both the Princeton and West Windsor Rescue Squads launched inflatable rubber boats equipped with outboard motors, and used them to search the water between the two bridges. Other volunteers combed the banks of the canal on foot.

The search lasted until 12:47 a.m., when it was determined that what the motorist had seen was probably one of a group of late night swimmers who were reported to have been in the area.

“We have no reason to believe that anyone was trying to commit suicide,” said Township Police Lieutenant Pete Savalli. “There were indications that someone had jumped in and out of the water several times.”

Later in the evening, he said, the police received an anonymous phone call from someone stating that there had been a group of people swimming in the area.

– Rob Garver

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