A man fell to his death at 12:32 p.m. Thursday from the Hoover Dam bypass bridge where police from Las Vegas and the Bureau of Reclamation had tried to talk him out of jumping, bureau spokeswoman Rose Davis said.
Davis said the man climbed over the bridge's walkway rail and hung from it at about 10:30 a.m., prompting authorities to close the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge as officers from Hoover Dam Police Department and a crisis intervention specialist from the Metropolitan Police Department responded.
"He let go or fell. He hit some rocks and went into the water. He did not survive," Davis said.
The man's remains were recovered shortly after he fell. Davis said his identity will be released by the Clark County coroner's office.
Depending on the coroner's ruling, the incident would be the third suicide from the Mike O'Callaghan-Pat Tillman Memorial Bridge since it opened in October 2010. The others were a 60-year-old California woman who jumped to her death April 7 and a young Asian man who jumped in late May, Davis said.
Later Thursday, Nevada Highway Patrol Trooper Jeremie Elliott said Hoover Dam police alerted his agency of a second body near the O'Callaghan-Tillman Memorial Bridge. Troopers confirmed a body was found at 3:57 p.m. near the side of U.S. Highway 93, about two miles from where the unidentified man fell to his death. No other details were released.
In the first incident on Thursday, Davis said there was a car parked in a lot near the bridge, but it was unclear whether the unidentified man had driven it there.
The 1,900-foot-long bridge crosses Black Canyon 900 feet above the Colorado River about a quarter of a mile downstream from Hoover Dam, which separates Lake Mead and Lake Mohave.
The Nevada Highway Patrol and Boulder City Police had stopped traffic in both directions on U.S. Highway 93 during the incident.
The highway was reopened about 1:15 p.m., according to the Nevada Department of Transportation.
Kingman City Councilman Mark Wimpee said he was driving across the bridge from Arizona toward Las Vegas about 11:15 a.m. when he saw a man who was wearing a brown T-shirt talking to the man hanging on the rail.
"It kind of looked like he was standing on a ledge, and he was hanging over the rail," he said of the man, who was wearing a black shirt.
"The whole time I was thinking, 'I hope they get this guy off the bridge. I pray to God they talk him off of there.' "
A walkway, which is open day and night, is separated from bridge traffic by a concrete barrier. The concrete wall along the pedestrian walkway is higher than normal at 4 feet, 6 inches. On the south side of the highway, where there is no walkway, the wall is a foot shorter.
The bridge is the highest and longest concrete-arch bridge in the Western Hemisphere.
Engineers from Nevada, Arizona and the Federal Highway Administration had discussed the potential for suicides during the design phase of the $240 million bridge but decided against any structures that could deter jumpers.
After the first suicide, a Nevada transportation official said there were no plans to place suicide hotline signs or netting on the bridge.
But Davis said Thursday that the Bureau of Reclamation has received funding from a Southern Nevada Public Land Management Act grant to purchase and install a dozen emergency communication call boxes.
Solar-powered ones will be installed at remote locations around lakes Mead and Mohave and hard-wired call boxes will be placed at heavily used visitor sites, including one each for the bypass bridge and parking area. Calls made from the boxes will be received at the Hoover Dam Command Center.
More than 1,300 people have jumped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge in the San Francisco Bay Area since the span opened in 1937. A network of security cameras, bike patrols and hotline phones is used to curb suicide attempts there.
In 2008, officials approved the installation of nets beneath the Golden Gate Bridge to catch jumpers, but they don't have $50 million to install the system.
Nevada has one of the highest per capita suicide rates in the nation.
Davis said the Bureau of Reclamation does not keep statistics on suicides at Hoover Dam. In 2004, a regional security manager for the bureau told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that about 30 people had jumped to their deaths from the dam since it opened in 1936.
Review-Journal writers Henry Brean, Antonio Planas and stringer Dave Hawkins contributed to this report. Contact reporter Keith Rogers at firstname.lastname@example.org or 702-383-0308.