Father, daughter presumed dead after bridge jump

A father and daughter are presumed dead after two people jumped from the Bond Bridge into the Missouri River while holding hands Thursday morning.

Witnesses told police the pair got out of a truck about 11:35 a.m., climbed over the railing and flung themselves into the water about 120 feet below. The woman was holding something in a blanket that was initially reported to possibly be an infant. But police later said they didn’t think a baby was involved. They think she was holding the family’s Chihuahua.

If the victims are who police think they are, the father was in his 50s, and the woman was in her 30s. They lived in a mobile home south of Kansas City in a rural area, police said.

Police towed the truck abandoned on the bridge and got a search warrant Thursday night to look inside for evidence. Police recovered the father’s cellphone but not much else of evidentiary value. The truck was registered to the daughter.

Police closed northbound and southbound lanes of Interstates 35/29 at the Bond Bridge around noon while emergency workers searched the river by boats for more than an hour. The Kansas City Fire Department also put spotters on the Chouteau Bridge and Interstate 435 farther down the river. Fire Department’s rescue companies have timed the current and said it takes about 15 minutes for a body to float from the Bond Bridge to the Chouteau Bridge.

Fire officials said victims are more likely to survive a jump into cold water as opposed to warm water, so they put in a full rescue effort. But they didn’t find the victims alive or dead. The Missouri Highway Patrol estimated the water’s temperature was in the 40s.

Crews searched until about 1 p.m., when they pulled the boats out of the river. All northbound lanes reopened by 12:40 p.m., and the southbound lanes were cleared a few minutes later.