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Man jumps into Charles River; no body found

After divers unsuccessfully scoured the Charles River for eight hours, police suspended the search for an unidentified man who jumped off the Massachusetts Avenue bridge into the frigid water below around 3:30 a.m. Tuesday.

Authorities had closed the bridge to set up aerial search lights and combed the cold, dark water until sunrise, when divers gave up hope of rescuing the man alive, a Boston Fire Department official said. State Police divers continued to search for his body until just after noon.

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“Based on credible reports that this happened, we put divers in the water and conducted a search for three hours in tough, cold conditions,” said Steve MacDonald, a Boston Fire Department spokesman.

MacDonald said police received reports that two men hailed a cab as they were walking across the bridge from Cambridge to Boston. When the cab arrived, one man reportedly walked toward it and the other jumped over the railing and into the water, he said.

The water below the bridge is nearly 8 feet deep, MacDonald said, and there was “zero visibility” for divers.

Dive teams from the Boston Fire Department were joined by the Cambridge Fire Department and searched the bottom and banks of the river blindly, feeling with their hands for signs of the body among concrete and metal obstacles, he said.

“The water is pretty cold,” MacDonald said. “We weren’t anticipating a rescue after a couple hours.”

Todd Feathers can be reached at todd.feathers@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter at @ToddFeathers.
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