Missoula man's legs broken when other man jumps from bridge


Missoula man's legs broken when other man jumps from bridge 7-23-13

MISSOULA, Mont. - A Missoula man's floating trip ended with his legs broken, and another man in trouble for jumping from a bridge and landing on him.

The man who jumped from an East Missoula bridge could face criminal endangerment charges.

The Missoula Sheriff's Department said he jumped into the Clark Fork River off the Bandmann Bridge Sunday. It's a popular spot for floaters.

Officials said the jumper may also have suffered injuries. The problem is officials said he slammed into a floater, and the force was enough to cause serious injuries.

It takes all of Andy Hill's energy to move from his wheelchair onto crutches for a short walk from his house to his shop.

Sunday started out pleasantly for Hill and his wife Amy.

They, like scores of other summer floaters, put into the Clark Fork and floated under the bridge, their inner tubes tethered.

"Suddenly I had intense pain and I was under water," said Hill. "Somebody had jumped off the bridge and landed on me."

Right in his lap, breaking both legs, chipping both fibulas, tearing the ACL in both knees, and cracking his left femur.

"There was a guy on my lap," said Hill, "and he rolled off my lap and he just kept apologizing, 'I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry.'"

Hill was still in his inner tube. He said the man who jumped on him swam him to shore. Hill said the man's friend helped out.

Now Hill will likely be in a wheelchair and on crutches for the rest of the summer.

"Who does this happen to?" he laughed. "I don't know of anybody this has ever happened to."

Hill was new to tubing. But he's a veteran fisherman. So much so that he's been forming a nonprofit agency called Fishabilities.

"To help people with disabilities get out on the water and go fishing," said Hill, of his nonprofit.

He's getting first-hand experience of disability. It's been a momentous year. Before the floating accident, he had just got out of the hospital where he underwent lung surgery.

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