The man who disappeared after a a group of people jumped from the “jaw bridge” on Martha’s Vineyard was identified as 21-year-old Tavaughn Bulgin. His older brother, Tavaris Bulgin, 26, died in the incident.
Of the four people who jumped off the bridge on Sunday evening, only two have resurfaced. Authorities were called to the scene and located Tavaris Bulgin’s body on Monday morning.
Authorities continued to search for the younger brother, but they suspended their search before 3 p.m. Tuesday due to “bad weather which caused dangerous conditions”. Authorities say they cleared the entrance/pond side of the bridge and found nothing, but bad weather prevented them from continuing their search on the ocean side.
Weather conditions will determine when the search can resume – and a coastal storm passing Wednesday could bring strong waves to the area.
The State and Environmental Police use side-scan sonar to detect anything unusual in the water or on the ocean floor.
“If EPO’s sonar detects an anomaly, our Underwater Recovery Unit members will dive into it to determine what it is,” state police said. “The overall area they searched/researched is very large, encompassing both the entrance on the land side of the bridge and the ocean on the sea side.”
The brothers are from Jamaica. They worked as seasonal workers at Nomans Restaurant and lived in Oak Bluffs.
“We are saddened by all that has happened,” family spokesman Reverend Rhoan Parkins told Television Jamaica. “We just want to tell the public that we want your prayers for them. Hopefully we can put things together to get all the facts involved.”
Their father is a pastor in a church in their hometown.
“It is indeed very tragic for us. It is a loss for the church. It is a loss for the community and I would say a loss for the country. It is a very sad day for all of us,” Parks said.
The search for swimmers began late Sunday evening. The water depth below the bridge is approximately 15 feet. The Oak Bluffs Fire Chief told WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller that the tide was rising at the time and was undoubtedly very fast.
The bridge, officially named the American Legion Memorial Bridge according to state police, is on Beach Road and connects Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. It became a landmark after appearing in the hit 1975 film ‘Jaws’, which was shot at the vineyard.
Even as crews searched for the missing man on Monday, the youngsters continued to jump from the deck.
“I was surprised even after they finished blocking it that people came back to jump,” said Russell Bell, a summer resident of the island.