Emergency Personnel Search For Person Who Jumped Off Bridge

Oskaloosa Fire Department personnel search the South Skunk River for a person that was reported to have jumped off the bridge into the water.

Oskaloosa Fire Department personnel search the South Skunk River for a person that was reported to have jumped off the bridge into the water.

Rose Hill, Iowa – A truck driver called the Mahaska County 911 Center at 2:15 pm on Tuesday afternoon, stating he observed a person jump off the bridge into the South Skunk River along Highway 92.

Mahaska County deputies were on scene within minutes where they began the search for the individual.

Deputies did discover footprint evidence on the bridge that indicated that there were at least two people on the bridge.

Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem said that deputies couldn’t find any evidence of where those individuals may have gotten out of the river. There were no vehicles or bicycles, or anything else around.

Emergency responders then put boats into the water south of Rose Hill and began searching the river both north and south of that location up to Highway 92.

The Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office then began the work of canvassing nearby homes and residences. Van Renterghem said his deputies canvased a four-mile stretch going door-to-door looking for information.

Van Renterghem said that the conversations with homeowners doesn’t indicate that anyone is missing from a residence.

Authorities then called the jurisdiction of the reporting party to make sure they were a credible witness. The local sheriff said the reporting party is a personal friend and is also a volunteer firefighter.

Mercy helicopter volunteered to fly over the area, where they helped to check timber areas.

Boats from Oskaloosa Fire Department, New Sharon Fire Department, and The Iowa Department of Natural Resources aided in the search. The DNR boat utilized their sophisticated sonar to help search the river bottom.

After that extensive search, Van Renterghem said the search was called off for the evening.

A return to the river on Wednesday depends upon information that may be received during the evening hours. Concerns for the safety of the first responders will also play a factor in future search plans.

Van Renterghem said that if you know of the person that jumped off the bridge, please let law enforcement know. No one would be in trouble if they did. “It isn’t a case where they are going to be arrested or anything like that. We absolutely need to know that [information].”

Those helping out during the search included the Mahaska County Sheriff’s Office, Mahaska County Emergency Management, Iowa State Patrol, Keokuk County Sheriff’s Department, Mahaska County CERT, Oskaloosa Fire Department, New Sharon Fire Department, Iowa Department of Natural Resources, and Mahaska County 911 Center, New Sharon Police Department, and Mahaska County Conservation Board.


Mahaska County Sheriff Russ Van Renterghem reports that his department has spoken to a 17-year-old male who is the one that jumped off the bridge and then swam back to shore. The 17-year-old male was with a group of friends near the bridge.

Van Renterghem said tips to his office after the initial press release helped them connect with the 17-year-old.



Posted by on Jun 19 2018. Filed under Local News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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