NEW YORK - Two young boys survived a 100-foot (30-meter) fall after their father leaped off a New Jersey bridge with them in his arms, police said on Tuesday.
The father, identified as John Spincken, jumped from an overpass along Interstate 187 in Wanaque, New Jersey, sometime after 7 p.m. EDT on Monday in what police have described as a suicide.
Spincken, 37, was found dead at the scene, but his 1- and 3-year-old sons were alive and taken to a hospital for treatment, according to Christopher DePuyt, a police captain in Pequannock, where Spincken lived.
The 1-year-old suffered a concussion, a bruised lung and a fractured rib, while his 3-year-old brother has a concussion, DePuyt said. Both were listed in fair condition at the intensive care unit at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in Paterson and were expected to make a full recovery.
“It’s a miracle, honestly,” DePuyt said, adding that the boys’ fall may have been slowed by foliage in the wooded area beneath the bridge.
A friend of Spincken’s wife called the police just before 7 p.m., saying the couple had an argument before the husband threatened to harm the children and left with them in his car.
Police from several departments worked with AT&T, using Spincken’s cellphone signal to find him. One officer suggested checking the bridge, where they discovered Spincken’s empty car, DePuyt said.
The state had installed 10-to-12-foot preventive fencing on both sides after several previous suicide attempts, but Spincken may have used his car to climb over, DePuyt said.
(Reporting by Joseph Ax in New York; Additional reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)
If you or someone you know needs help, call 1-800-273-8255 for the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. Outside of the U.S., please visit the International Association for Suicide Prevention for a database of resources.