Rescuers snag bridge jumper from river

Last updated: September 7, 2022 - 5:58pm

Rescuers help a man who jumped into the river onto a backboard at the Catawissa Boat Club ramp Wednesday. (Press Enterprise/Leon Bogdan)

MONTOUR TWP. — A suicidal man leaped off the Catawissa bridge into the rain-swollen Susquehanna River on Wednesday morning, only to be plucked out of the water alive by emergency personnel aboard a rescue boat.

Richard Banks, 69, of Berwick was moaning in pain as rescuers stationed at the Catawissa Boat Club launch lifted him out of Bloomsburg Fire Department’s rescue boat and onto a back board for ambulance transport to Geisinger Bloomsburg Hospital.

Montour Township Police Chief Terry Eckart said the man was sought on a warrant to commit him for involuntary mental health treatment after making suicidal threats earlier that morning.

He jumped off the bridge about 10 a.m. after parking his vehicle near the railroad tracks in Catawissa and walking out onto the span, Eckart said.

Rescuers were alerted to the water rescue after someone at the Catawissa Boat Club heard “somebody yelling for help out in the water,” Eckart said.

Bloomsburg Deputy Fire Chief John Mahon said rescuers found him about 200 yards downstream from the bridge, clinging to a log or portion of a tree in the water on the Catawissa side of the river.

He estimated the water depth at about 3 feet deep where the man was located.

“He didn’t give us any trouble. He seemed ready to be pulled out at that point,” Mahon said.

Eckart said the man appeared to have suffered serious injuries. His condition was not immediately known.

In addition to Bloomsburg Fire Department and its water rescue team, Bloomsburg paramedics and Buckhorn Fire Company volunteers joined in the effort.

Catawissa and Locust Township police also responded from their side of the river to help locate the man in the water.

“I appreciate all the assistance to help get him out of the river,” Eckart said.

Leon Bogdan can be reached at 570-784-2121, ext. 1307, or by email at

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