About Coconino County

About Coconino County

Encompassing 18,661 square miles, Coconino County, Arizona, is the second largest county in the U.S. but one of the least populated. Our county includes Grand Canyon National Park, the Navajo, Havasupai, Hualapai and Hopi Indian Reservations, and the largest contiguous ponderosa pine forest in the world. Elevations range from 2,000 feet above sea level along the Colorado River to 12,633 feet at the summit of Mt. Humphreys in Flagstaff.

June 4, 2011

A Body Recovery at Midgley Bridge

Midgley Bridge - Credit Flickr CC
I know it might sound cold: "body recovery." After all, just a short time before we arrived at the scene, that body had been a living, breathing man -- an 80 year-old man who, for some reason we weren't aware of, had made the decision to end his life. At about 8:30a.m. on Friday, June 3rd, a woman reported that she'd just received a call from her husband, who was about to jump from the bridge. Soon after deputies arrived, that man, who had already climbed over the railing, let go and fell about 300 feet to his death.

Our team has been to Midgley Bridge in Sedona's Oak Creek Canyon before, for the same type of mission. In fact, when the call is for Midgley Bridge, it's usually preceded or followed by the words "body recovery." Certainly not an easy thing to do in any sense of the word. But, speaking for myself, dealing with that grim task is made easier by the fact that I'm doing it with my teammates, who understand the range of emotions that goes along with it. And following such missions, which all of those volunteers present had been through before, "critical incident management" (basically, counseling) was offered to us, either immediately or at any time afterward.

While I have to admit that I'm okay with what I did and saw, I can't help but wonder about that man and why, after 80 years of life, he decided to leave it and in the way that he did. I can't imagine the feeling of helplessness, sorrow or perhaps something else that would drive someone to do such a thing. I hope he'll rest in peace.

1 comment:

Walter Underwood said...

Thank you for being there, regardless of the cause.