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.
Fire Boat 201 operating on a report of a person in the water near the Woodrow Wilson Bridge. pic.twitter.com/J0Oci4QzqR
— IAFF Local 2141 (@IAFFLocal2141) January 14, 2020
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.
A new bike campus is all painted and ready to go under the Alexandria side of the Woodrow Wilson Bridge.
The smooth pavement between the bridge pylons has long been a popular spot for bicyclists on the Mount Vernon Trail or visiting Jones Point Park, but the new signs and lanes on the ground can help new cyclists learn the rules of the road and practice in a safe environment.
At a grand opening ceremony, scheduled for Saturday (Dec. 7) at 10:30 a.m., instructors from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association (WABA) will be available to help teach cyclists of all ages about rules on the street and bicycling techniques. A ribbon-cutting is scheduled for 11 a.m.
According to the Facebook page:
WABA is excited to announce the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus at Jones Point Park! The bike campus will serve as a dedicated space for people of all ages to learn how to ride a bicycle safely, comfortably, and confidently. WABA will be celebrating the completion of the Alexandria Bike Campus with a ribbon cutting on Saturday, December 7 at 11:00 a.m. at Jones Point Park in Alexandria, VA.
We invite you to bring your family and your bicycles to the ribbon cutting and to participate in a demonstration of the bicycle campus. WABA instructors will show how the campus can be used to teach new cyclists of all ages and how even experienced cyclists can learn and practice new skills. Our instructors will be at Jones Point Park at 10:30 AM – we hope to see you then!
Historically, welcoming the Santa María with open arms has turned out poorly, but the ship is nonetheless scheduled to dock at The Wharf in D.C. The ship will be open for tours from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. from Friday, Nov. 7, to Wednesday, Nov. 13, then again from Friday, Nov. 15 to Sunday, Nov. 17.
The ship will be open for self-guided tours through four decks, with informative panels about the history of the ship and chances to talk with the crew about what life was like for Spanish sailors 500 years ago.
Tours are $10 for adults or $5 for children under 10 years old. Families are $25.
The bridge is scheduled to open at 1 a.m. The Virginia Department of Transportation said via social media that drivers should expect delays and consider alternate routes during that time.
Photo via Nao Santa María/Facebook
Traffic on either side of the Woodrow Wilson Memorial Bridge is expected to come to a standstill shortly before midnight tonight (Tuesday) due to a passing ship.
The Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) tweeted earlier this afternoon that the span would be opened around 11:30 p.m. to allow a 247.5-foot “superyacht” to pass through. The closure is likely to cause traffic backups on the Beltway.
“Expect delays and consider alternate routes,” the transit agency warned commuters.
Alexandria: The Woodrow Wilson Bridge will open tonight at 11:30PM to allow the Bella Vita yacht (Google it) through. Expect delays and consider alternate routes. @MDSHA
— VDOT Northern VA (@VaDOTNOVA) October 1, 2019
The ship causing all the fuss is the Bella Vita, a six-deck vessel for up to 12 guests and 22 crew.
According to its website, the Bella Vita costs $708,872 a week to charter and comes with a movie theatre, salon and gym — and is described by owner Moran Yacht & Ship as a “rugged luxury yacht.”
Formerly known as the Northern Star, the luxury yacht was built in 2009 and was at one point valued at $181 million, before being remodeled.
The Wilson bridge rarely opens, but makes exceptions for large ships, like the historic tall ships on their annual pilgrimage to Alexandria.
Image via Flickr/Geoff Livingston