Police spokesman Lt. Robert Harrison said two 14-year-old boys were fishing near the General Pulaski Bridge at about 5:30 p.m. Monday when they saw a man who was bleeding profusely. The man had come from the direction of Big Y Supermarket, crossed the bridge, traveled along the south bank of the river and entered the water, he said.
The teens saw the man, a 41-year-old Beacon Falls resident, float downstream until they lost sight of him due to brush, Harrison said. They ran home, called police and then came back to the scene to speak with officers.
Harrison said with the assistance of a K-9 unit from the Seymour Police Department officers tracked the man and found him 100 yards south of where he entered the river, still in the water.
Where he was, however, was very difficult to access, Harrison said. When officers entered the river to reach the man, he pulled out a pocket knife and began stabbing himself, he said.
Officers were able to wrestle the knife away from the man, Harrison said. None of the officers were injured in the confrontation.
Officers and fire fighters then began to lift the man out of the water using a three-to-one pulley system, Fire Chief Ken Hanks said. This means for every three feet of rope that is pulled the person rises up one foot. It is designed to make it easier to lift someone out of the water, Hanks explained.
This is not the first time that the fire department had to rescue someone from this area. Hanks said about once a year somebody falls into the river in that location and needs to be rescued. Due to the frequency of such incidents, the fire department trains to do this type of rescue, he said.
The fire department also called in Beacon Falls Hose Company No. 1 for back up since they have an inflatable boat that could be used to go rescue the man if lifting him out of the water had failed. Hanks said the boat was the back up plan because it would have taken longer.
When the man was finally rescued, Harrison described him as seriously injured and despondent. He was taken to Waterbury Hospital by ambulance. His condition was unknown as of this post.
According to Harrison, the man was a fugitive from the Connecticut State Police. State police responded to the scene and followed the man to the hospital.
Harrison didn’t release the man’s name, since he had not been charged with a crime by Naugatuck police. The police report didn’t list the charge or charges he is wanted on by state police, Harrison said. He referred questions to the state police.
The incident is still under investigation by Naugatuck police.
Lt. J. Paul Vance, spokesman for the state police, said the man’s name will not be released until he is formally arrested. Vance said the man will not be arrested until he is released from the hospital.