Witnesses reported that the woman had parked her sedan not far from the center of the bridge and, minutes later, climbed over the side. First rescuers to arrive said that she appeared to be trying to tread water as the current carried her east, in the direction of Fall River.Bristol Fire Department rescuers pulled the still-conscious woman out of the frigid waters of Mt. Hope Bay at around 11:45 a.m.
No word on her condition is available.
The initial call to police came shortly before 11:30 a.m., and told of a woman sitting in her possibly broken down car at the top of the bridge. The car’s emergency flashers were activated.
Portsmouth Deputy Fire Chief Michael O’Brien said that upon local Portsmouth’s first responders’ arrival on the bridge at 11:23 a.m., a victim was spotted on the surface of the water.
“Police officials, who were already on scene, reported that the victim was struggling in the water,” Deputy O’Brien said in a statement.
The Bristol harbormaster’s boat reached the woman at 11:38 a.m. about a quarter of a mile east of the bridge, he said. Portsmouth and Bristol marine units arrived shortly after and through a combined effort the woman was pulled from the water and onto the Portsmouth boat, Deputy O’Brien said.
Portsmouth EMTs began treatment on the female, who was conscious, and transported her to the Annawamscutt Drive boat area in Bristol. Bristol Ambulance then transported the patient to Rhode Island Hospital.
Portsmouth Fire Department does not know the patient’s identity at this point, the deputy chief said.
Several police cars and an ambulance were on the bridge during the search, which slowed traffic to a crawl for about 30 minutes. The Coast Guard also sent a boat for assistance.
More information will be posted as it’s made available.