Alexandria, VA

Two women in kayaks were rescued from the Potomac River on Saturday by the Alexandria Fire Department’s Fire Boat 201, in addition to responders from U.S. Park Police and the Washington D.C. Harbor Patrol.

The incident occurred a little after 2 p.m. on Saturday. It was about 60 degrees that day with 20 mile-per-hour winds, and the young women were having trouble getting their kayaks upright, according to AFD.

“They were both wearing life jackets and first responders were able to rescue them before they experienced serious distress in the water,” AFD spokeswoman Raytevia Evans told ALXnow. “Paramedics evaluated both patients to ensure they weren’t showing symptoms of hypothermia or other medical issues caused by the incidents. They were cleared by the paramedics and opted not to be transported to the hospital.”

Two weeks ago, the body of a District man was found floating in the Potomac downriver near Founders Park.

Staff photo by Jay Westcott

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Alexandria firefighters and the city’s fire boat, along with vessels from the D.C. fire department and the U.S. Coast Guard, conducted searches below the Woodrow Wilson Bridge Tuesday afternoon after reports of a person in the water.

Initial reports suggested that a woman had jumped off the bridge, on the southern end of the Beltway, into the water below. Rescuers, however, did not find anyone in the river.

Later, a woman matching description given to rescuers was found alive and well on Maryland side of bridge, but it was determined that no further assistance was necessary, according to Petty Officer Andy Kendrick, a Coast Guard spokesman.

Police in Prince George’s County also conducted a welfare check on the woman, we’re told.

An Alexandria Fire Department spokeswoman said it was the department’s understanding that the woman had been in the water. It’s unclear whether she jumped.

Though incredibly dangerous, it wouldn’t be the first time someone has jumped from the Wilson bridge and survived. Famously, in 1998, an Alexandria man stood on the bridge for five hours, blocking traffic on the Beltway, before leaping off; he survived with “no obvious injuries.” In 2017, a man and a woman jumped off the bridge in separate incidents, and both survived.

If you or someone you know is in immediate danger of self-harm, call 911. If you’re having thoughts of suicide, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text CONNECT to 85511.

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