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A 911 caller said he saw a 79-year-old woman fall to her death from a drawbridge as she tried to cling to it when the bridge opened while she was still on it.
“I don’t know how to explain it,” the caller told the 911 operator, “but she fell out. She’s in the water right now.”
“She’s in the water?” the operator asked.
West Palm Beach police released the 911 call about Carol Wright, the woman who was halfway home from a 6-mile ride to Palm Beach on Feb. 6 when the Royal Park Bridge opened while she was walking her bicycle across. She tried to hang on to the railing but lost her grip and fell six stories to the pavement below.
The caller said he was on his skateboard and on his way to work and he saw a woman on the bridge, and then the bridge went up.
“I think she fell,” he said. “I don’t know if she’s still alive. But she fell on the floor. I don’t know if she went in the water or on the floor.”
The 911 operator sought clarification.
“You didn’t see anything? You just saw her on the bridge and now you don’t?” she asked.
The caller reiterated he saw Wright near the middle of the bridge and then the bridge went up.
“Did you actually see her fall?” the operator asked.
“Yes, I do,” the caller replied.
“You saw her fall into the water?” the operator asked.
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The operator then told the man to stay on the line while she called medics.
The 911 operator told the medic they hadn’t received a call from the bridge tender. At the end of the call the 911 operator said she’d call the bridge tender, a 42-year-old Greenacres woman.
Wright, according to a family attorney, was returning home from a trip to a bookstore. The family attorney said she grabbed onto a railing when the bridge began lifting.
Wright was dead when first responders arrived.
“Unfortunately, her 79-year-old arms and hands gave way,” the attorney, Lance Ivey, said. “And she falls. And she falls down into this little abyss.”
Chris Perkins can be reached at email@example.com