UPDATE: Sunday, May 6, 2012, 4:30 p.m.
The person who attempted to jump off the Tappan Zee bridge early Sunday afternoon has been described as a New Rochelle man, 55, who was "despondent over personal issues," according to Sgt. John Antonelli of the New York State Police, Troop T.
Sergeant Antonelli was at the scene as emergency workers successfully prevented the man from jumping off the bridge. Units from Rockland assisted in the effort.
At 1:06 p.m. dispatchers received calls from motorists describing a man exiting his car mid span. One minute later, New York State Police arrived at the scene and attempted to locate the individual.
"We weren't sure if he jumped," said Sergeant Antonelli, who has 20 years of experience with situations like this one. Police spotted the man on a platform approximately 25 feet below the roadway.
At that point, police were unsure of what the outcome would be. "It's a case by case basis," said Sergeant Antonelli. "You have to ascertain why the subject is despondent."
Police negotiated with the man for an hour, until 2:09 p.m., when he agreed to surrender. Local fire departments assisted in the rescue by placing a harness on the man and lifting him to safety.
"It's up to the person to realize that life is worth living," said Sergeant Antonelli about when the man might have decided not to jump.
The man was taken into custody and brought to Westchester Medical Center in Valhalla for psychological evaluation around 3 p.m. His family has been notified.
A man who was possibly attempting to jump from the Tappan Zee Bridge but got hung up on the scaffolding below, has been retrieved, report New York State Police.
At 1:09 p.m., the call came in to Tarrytown Police that there was a possible jumper mid-span on the bridge. Emergency crews assembled at the Tarrytown Marina, including the Tarrytown Fire Department's Special Operations unit, Tarrytown Volunteer Ambulance Corps, EMS workers and Westchester County Fire officials. All they could do was watch the bridge and its buzzing helicopters from afar and hope it would be a rescue and not a recovery.
The workers received word over police radio at 1:55 p.m. that the man had been retrieved and was being transported southbound on the bridge to the Tarrytown State Police barracks. “Situation under control,” said the dispatch.
Tarrytown State Police troopers were not offering any further information on the matter at this time.
Traffic is now backed up for miles in both directions.
Tom Farrington of Westchester County Fire, among those at the Tarrytown waterfront, said it was unclear at this point whether the man jumped or climbed down onto the scaffolding. Units were assembled here in case he jumped, and negotiators and Tactical Rescue Team members were called to the bridge to talk him out of it and pull him up with ropes as necessary.
“Better to get him to go up than come down,” Farrington said.