WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — West Palm Beach Police Department detectives said late Monday they have identified the woman who fell from the Royal Park Bridge and diedSunday.
The victim was identified as a 79-year-old Palm Beach County resident. Her name is being withheld under Marsy's Law.
The accident occurred just after 1 p.m. Sunday.
According to detectives, the woman was walking her bicycle across the bridge, which connects the island of Palm Beach to West Palm Beach, when the bridge gates came down, an alarm sounded, and the bridge started to go up.
"The victim had almost completed traversing the bridge," West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles said during a press conference early Monday. "She was about 10 feet from that fixed portion."
As the bridge ascended, a man on a skateboard tried desperately to help the woman hang onto the bridge.
"Despite those efforts, the woman was not able to hold on and she fell to the concrete landing below to her death," Jachles said. "From where the victim was to where she landed was approximately five to six stories or 50 to 60 feet."
West Palm Beach Fire Rescue's Technical Rescue Team used ropes and harnesses to lower firefighters 50-60 feet beneath the bridge’s surface to reach the victim, who landed on a concrete surface where the mechanical components of the drawbridge are located, officials said.
"Detectives are looking at whether all of the safety practices were followed," Jachles said. "There are a lot of questions, but we hope to have some answers to them."
The bridge remained closed for six hours while the on-scene investigation was conducted.