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Woman jumps off bridge into canal

Lockport police and Niagara County dive teams spent much of Thursday looking without success for an unidentified woman who jumped into the Erie Canal off the more than 90-foot-high Lockport Railroad Bridge just before 10 a.m. in an apparent suicide.

The act appeared to be very deliberate, according to Capt. Richard Podgers, chief of detectives.

"There was no pause. She just walked out, climbed the rail and jumped," Podgers said.

She is described as a black woman with dark hair, 5-foot-7 to 5-foot-8, possibly in her 30s, wearing a pink jacket. Anyone who has information on the woman is asked to call Lockport police at 433-6710.

The historic Lockport Railroad Bridge is a black truss suspension bridge, known locally as the "Upside Down" bridge. It's near Upson Park and spans the canal between Clinton and Market streets.

The jump was witnessed by construction workers who were working on the bridge, Podgers said.

Podgers said the Lockport Police boat was at the scene within 10 to 15 minutes to begin dragging operations in the canal. He said members of the Niagara County dive team also were called. Additional assistance at the scene was provided by the Lockport Fire Department and State Police.

The Lockport police boat used thermal imaging to help in the search of the muddy canal waters.

He said the dragging operation recovered a Browning shotgun and cables and were constantly bringing things up and snagging their hooks.

"It's extremely hard to drag the bottom of the canal. It is hard for the divers, especially at the trestle. It was extremely hard Thursday because of the currents and wind," Podgers said.

The dragging and search were called off at 2 p.m., and Podgers said the weather and wind conditions will determine whether the dive team will be back out to search again today.