Authorities in West Palm Beach, Florida are investigating the death of a bicyclist who fell from a drawbridge when it opened.
A woman falls to her death when the drawbridge she was crossing opened
The victim was seen walking her bicycle on the sidewalk portion of the Royal Park Bridge, which connects West Palm Beach to Palm Beach, shortly after 1:00 p.m. Sunday, according to West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles.
The woman was 10 feet from the end of the elevated portion of the bridge when it began to rise, police said.
A male bystander on a skateboard, who was a few feet away from the victim on the fixed portion of the bridge, tried unsuccessfully to grab her, while she was attached to the railing. He lost control and fell five to six stories below the bridge to a concrete landing, Jachles said.
As of Monday afternoon, police had not yet been able to identify the woman. She had no identification, according to Jachles. He described her as an older woman and possibly a West Palm Beach resident.
Investigators are now working to determine how the bridge was opened before it was cleared of pedestrians and whether any safety protocols were violated, Jachles said.
“There are warning signs and safety procedures for bridge workers to follow, with multiple steps and multiple levels of checking to make sure there are no cars or people on the bridge when it goes up,” Jachles told CNN affiliate WPBF.
“So that’s all part of the investigation, to determine if procedure was followed or if this woman crossed after the signals were turned off,” he said.
The bridge was closed for nearly six hours Sunday while police investigated the scene. No other injuries were reported.