Man lucky to survive plunge into Spokane river


A man is lucky to be alive after surviving a drop from the Monroe Street Bridge into the raging Spokane River below on Wednesday evening.

That man remains in the hospital. Firefighters say they can't believe he actually survived.

"I was not expecting a successful rescue at all," said Spokane Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

It all started just after 5 p.m. when witnesses called 911 after spotting a man clinging to the bank of the river below the Monroe Street Bridge. Responding crews learned the man jumped or fell 200 feet to the water below. The current then dragged him to the south bank of the river and smashed him up against the jagged rocks.

Amazingly, after all that, he was still able to pull himself out of the water and onto the rocks.

It took rescuers more than an hour to get the man, secure him in a harness, and finally pull him up the steep bank to safety and waiting paramedics. Chief Schaeffer says his teams train for situations just like this, but the fact this man survived is unbelievable.

"One in a million maybe," Schaeffer said. "It's hard to put into context that we can even understand. The fact that he has the wherewithal now to be awake is very surprising. Everything that his body's been through from a trauma perspective, it's not something that you see in a career."

The man's condition and identity has not yet been released.

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