Ann Arbor police: Railroad bridge jumping into water can kill

It's not only dangerous, but illegal: Ann Arbor police are cracking down on people jumping from railroad bridges into water below.

Within minutes of FOX 2 arriving at Bandemer Park we saw people doing just that.

"We want people to know it’s incredibly unsafe," said Patrick Maguire, Ann Arbor deputy police chief. "We’ve had folks hit by trains, we’ve had people drown. There’s unsafe things under the water you can’t see from the bridge. So, people we find on the train tracks or on train bridges will be cited."

At about 7:15 p.m. Wednesday, police say an Amtrak train made an emergency stop to avoid hitting four young men on the railroad bridge near M-14.

An Amtrak worker told investigators that after the train stopped, one of the young men confronted and pushed him more than once.

As the group walked away, they said a body was in the river - but it turned out to be a false report.

"That triggered quite a response," Maguire said. "Our officers at the police department as well as the fire department came out and did a pretty extensive search making sure there’s nobody lost in the water. And that pulls resources from other things that we probably could have helped the citizens more."

Maguire says it’s a serious report to make because at the same park just last year — a 10th grader died after jumping from a railroad bridge into the Huron River and drowning.

Back in 2018, a man who jumped off a bridge into the Huron at Argo Park — also in Ann Arbor — launched a search and rescue effort, which was eventually called off.

Related: Teen dies in jump from train bridge over Huron River in Ann Arbor

FOX 2: "How tough is it for your officers to go through that and talk to a parent who has lost their kids in something that was preventable?"

"Absolutely - loss of life anytime is the worst thing our officers can experience," Maguire said. "Many of us, we have children and we have families. so, to have to share that news with someone is devastating."

Police say they have seen a spike in citations because of railroad activity this time of year.

If police catch you on a railroad bridge, it is a 30-day misdemeanor.