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Man airlifted after jump from Agate Pass bridge

A Suquamish man was airlifted to Harborview Medical Center after surviving a jump from the Agate Pass bridge late Friday morning.

The airlift, the Bainbridge Island Police Department later said in a press release, was for "precautionary purposes."

Authorities were dispatched to the bridge at 11:04 a.m. when the man, 35, began climbing to the upper trestle. First responder Dag Liljequist with the Bainbridge Island Fire Department said the man would not initially communicate with police.

According to the release, Bainbridge and Suquamish police crisis negotiators contacted the male, who was "extremely distraught" over losing his job.

Despite negotiation efforts the man jumped at 11:28 a.m. and was reported to be conscious when he surfaced. On scene responders said the water is roughly 45 degrees.

Liljequist said the drop from the bridge's highest span to the water is about 80 feet, which equates to a 6- or 7- story building. Medics reported no obvious injuries, but "a multiple story fall can have huge effects on internal injury and head trauma," Liljequist said.

According to Bainbridge Fire Assistant Chief Luke Carpenter, the man was in the water for five minutes before a Bainbridge Fire marine unit rescued him. He was taken to the Suquamish Dock, then to a command center at Suquamish Elementary, where a helicopter lifted him to Harborview Medical Center.

Crews closed the bridge to traffic in both directions until the man was pulled from the water.

The man's brother was on scene at the dock. He declined comment at the time.

Staff writer Tara Lemm contributed to this report. Check back to for updates throughout the afternoon.

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