KENT ISLAND — Two lanes of the westbound span of the Bay Bridge were closed for approximately six hours for an incident involving police response. The Maryland Transportation Authority first advised of the lane closures around 11:30 a.m. on Saturday, Oct. 3.
The closures were prompted by an individual who had climbed towards the top of the Bay Bridge.
Local couple Don and Kathy Trotter were able to observe the last harrowing minutes of the rescue effort. Just after 6 p.m. the person who had been at the top of the bridge since 11 a.m. Saturday morning was successfully lowered to the waiting crew of first responders on the bridge deck below.
Trotter had been watching the rescue through his telescope on their back deck in Kent Island and quickly alerted his wife when one of the seven or eight responders who had climbed the stanchion to the nearly highest peak of the bridge — leaned forward to grab the individual in distress. Trotter said it looked as if “he was making a move to jump when he was grabbed back by the rescue crew and held down”. From his perspective it looked as though a line was extended from the rescuers in the air, said Trotter, to the ground crew below and a gurney of some type was used to secure the person to the line before being lowered into the raised bucket of a waiting fire truck.
The bucket was then lowered down — taking about a minute to reach the bridge's surface — and was immediately surrounded by first responders who ran over to assist, said Trotter.
“These people need help and someone to talk to,” said Trotter of the many individuals who attempt or have committed suicide from the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. He said it is concerning that so many feel helpless or hopeless and are led to this unthinkable option.
The first responders who conduct these rescue missions are to be commended, he added.
Backups were reported extending 6.5 miles westbound and eastbound as State Highway and local law enforcement officials helped to divert traffic on both sides of the bridge.
Although MDTA was unable to provide specific information, sources early on said the closures were due to an individual walking up the overhead bridge supports. Pictures shared to social media confirmed the same. The source indicated the person may have potentially been the same individual who had to be rescued from the bridge on Aug. 22 after 21 hours of rescue workers trying to assist the young man from his precarious position.
Among the agencies that responded were units from Anne Arundel County Fire Company, Queen Anne's County Sheriff's Office, Queen Anne's County Fire and EMS, MDTA, and SHA.
If you are feeling in need of help and want someone to talk to please reach out to the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.