POINT PLEASANT — The 14th Annual Mothman Festival was off to a lighthearted start on Saturday until a man reportedly jumped into the Ohio River at Riverfront Park and didn’t resurface.
Witnesses gathered in the amphitheater for the children’s pageants at the Mothman Festival described a man in his 50’s or 60’s with long hair jumping into the river around 11 a.m. on the western end of the park, just past where the pageant was taking place. In fact, it was Pageant Director Delyssa Edmonds who alerted an employee with the City of Point Pleasant that witnesses reported seeing the man go in but not reemerge.
The city employee called the Point Pleasant Police Department which alerted the Point Pleasant Fire Department, Mason County EMS and the Mason County Sheriff’s Department.
After roping off a portion of the amphitheater, the search began near where the man was last seen with boats from both the PPVFD and Gallipolis Fire Department dragging the river. Divers from the Point PD were also called to the scene. A little over an hour after they began searching, the man’s body was located very near where he was last seen jumping in. The entire park was then evacuated.
The man reportedly jumped into the river at least once before jumping in the final time. Prior to the drowning, a city employee advised the man that there was to be no swimming at the park and to refrain from jumping in. The city posted no swimming signs at the park some time ago.
The identity of the man has not been released yet while family members are notified. The Point Pleasant Police Department is the leading the investigation.