A woman plunged at least five stories to her death Sunday when the bridge she was walking across opened, West Palm Beach police said.
It happened about 1 p.m. as the woman, who has not been named by authorities, was walking her bike on the Royal Park Bridge, which connects West Palm Beach, at Lakeview Avenue, to Palm Beach.
“The woman tried to hang on. There was a bystander nearby who tried to help her, but tragically she fell five or six stories below where she died landing on concrete,” West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles told WPTV-News Channel 5.
She was only about 10 feet away from the end of the bridge when she fell, according to WPTV.
Jachles said there is a bridge tender who has safety protocols to follow in terms of lowering the gates when the bridge is going to be raised and those protocols include “making several visual confirmations that there is nobody at either of the spans or past those gates.”
In addition to gates, the bridge is equipped with bells that sound when the bridge is about to be raised.
The bridge reopened to cars and foot traffic about 5:30 p.m., according to a statement from West Palm Beach Police Chief Frank Adderley that was posted on the department’s Twitter account. He did not elaborate on the circumstances that led to the incident or if it was a bridge malfunction.
Adderley said detectives from the West Palm Beach Police Department are leading the investigation.
Rob Webb, South Florida Sun Sentinel