Drowning victim identified after Bainbridge bridge jump

The search for the man started around 8:42 pm on Tuesday and ended at 12 a.m. on Wednesday before resuming later Wednesday morning.
Published: Aug. 9, 2023 at 10:01 AM CDT|Updated: Aug. 9, 2023 at 4:20 PM CDT
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BAINBRIDGE, Ga. (WALB) - The identity of a man who jumped off a Bainbridge bridge and later drowned has been released. They believe it to be the same man seen jumping off a bridge into the Flint River in a Facebook Live video.

Crews found the body of Luther Johnson of Bainbridge around 9:54 a.m. on Wednesday in the same area he jumped near Cheney Griffin Park.

Bainbridge Public Safety is investigating the incident and the video that was taken.

In the video, a man is overheard narrating another man’s walk on a train trestle and then. His jump from the bridge.

Over 100,000 people watched the video, which shows the man swimming in the middle of the Flint River before he then disappears. The video has since been removed from Facebook.

Search efforts for the man began Tuesday night around 8 p.m. but ended unsuccessfully a little after midnight on Wednesday. By Wednesday morning, rescue crews discovered the man’s body 30 feet from where he jumped in. Decatur County fire Chief Charlie McCann believes if social media hadn’t been involved, the man might still be alive.

“When the individual that was filming it, when he seen he jumped in the water if he’d called us, or called 911, that had jumped in the river or whatever, he might still be with us today,” McCann said.

In these types of incidents, McCann says a lot of people don’t realize the dangers behind jumping from high rises into water.

“It’s like hitting a brick wall depending on how you hit, you’re going to cause some bodily injuries and that’s going to make it even worse if you plan on just jumping and swimming out,” McCann said.

In this incident, McCann says he believes the drowning was caused by the man being tired of swimming.

“It’s just sad the way things happened and it hurt me as well as the community,” a local resident told WALB.

Law enforcement tells WALB they are encouraging residents to avoid incidents like this because they can turn deadly.