Report of jumper from Ravenel Bridge turns out to have been unfounded

A search for a possible jumper off the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge this morning was called off once authorities determined the report was unfounded.

Shortly before 11 a.m., there were numerous reports of police and rescue vehicles on the bridge and reports that traffic was slowed down, with lanes blocked on both sides of the bridge. The Coast Guard confirmed there was a search under way for a jumper.

About 11:30 a.m., the Coast Guard, over VHF marine band radio, issued a bulletin cancelling its earlier bulletin that had asked for mariners to be on the lookout for a possible jumper.

Charleston Police spokesman Charles Francis said police got a call from a woman who said she saw a white male in a blue coat who looked as if he were jumping from the bridge.

City police and Mount Pleasant officers went to the location where the woman reported seeing the man and saw there was a blue tarp, Francis said. The tarp had been on the bridge for several weeks, he said.

Officers took the woman back to the bridge and showed her the tarp and she confirmed that was what she had seen, Francis said.

Traffic was back to normal by 11:45 a.m. or so.

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