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Bicyclist falls to her death from rising Florida drawbridge

Police are trying to determine why the bridge tender began raising the span before it was clear of pedestrians.

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — Police say a bicyclist fell to her death Sunday afternoon when a drawbridge connecting Palm Beach to the Florida mainland began rising before she could reach the other side. 

West Palm Beach police spokesman Mike Jachles says the 79-year-old woman tried to hang on and a bystander also tried to pull her to safety but lost his grip. The woman fell five or six stories and landed on concrete. 

Police are trying to determine why the bridge tender began raising the span before it was clear of pedestrians.

The bridge was closed for nearly six hours while investigators worked on the scene.

The Palm Beach Post reports that the bridge tender was “distraught” over what happened. Jachles told the newspaper that the tender's actions before the bridge opened will be a focus of the investigation.

He added that the bridge is maintained by the state Department of Transportation but its bridge tenders are staffed by a private state contractor.

10 Tampa Bay's Andrea Chu contributed to this report.

 

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