Search crews recover body while searching Congaree River Thursday

akflanagan@thestate.comApril 24, 2014 

— Search crews have found the body of a man while searching the Congaree River Thursday.

“All we can say is that we were looking for someone to recover and we did recover someone,” Capt. Robert McCullough, DNR spokesman said.

Capt. McCullough said the body was recovered in Richland County, almost to the Calhoun County line, which is near Congaree National Park.

While the body has not been identified, search crews were canvasing the river after witnesses reported seeing a man jump from the Gervais Street bridge two weeks ago.

“We are not making assumptions at this point,” McCullough said. “The Richland County Coroner has the victim and we will let him make the identification.”

The initial search for a man who jumped off the Gervais Street bridge began two weeks ago after witnesses along the West Columbia Riverwalk reported hearing a spalsh and seeing a man floating in the current.

Joe Person, a contractor from out of town, had the day off and went to the river with some friends.

“I didn’t anything, but a friend who was with me said “Someone fell in the river,” Person said.

The men saw someone floating down the river, and the person looked to be alive but hurt.

Reports of the fall came in shortly after 10 a.m. April 10, and rescue workers spent the rest of the day searching by water, air and land.

Police closed the Gervais Street bridge for several hours.

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