• U.S.

Toddlers Survive After Father Jumped With Them From Bridge: ‘It Was Nothing Short of a Miracle’

2 minute read

The two toddlers held by their father as he jumped off a New Jersey bridge to his death are expected to make a full recovery, police say.

“When the officers found the children conscious and alert it was nothing short of a miracle, that’s for sure,” Pequannock Township police Capt. Christopher DePuyt told the Associated Press on Tuesday. “If there is a silver lining, it’s that the kids are OK.”

Police identified John Spincken as the father who jumped off the Wanaque Bridge on Interstate 287 on Monday night while holding his two sons, ages 1 and 3.

Authorities had received a call that evening from a friend of Spincken’s wife, who reported that he was threatening to harm the children. After tracking Spincken through his cellphone, police found his empty car on the bridge, DePuyt told the AP. Spincken appears to have climbed on to his car’s roof to clear a 12-ft.-high fence that is meant to deter people from jumping off the bridge, police said.

Spincken, 37, was pronounced dead at the scene, and the boys were found nearby with non life-threatening injuries. Police said tree branches helped cushion their fall.

“I was expecting the worst outcome when I arrived at the scene, and I was amazed last night and even this morning on the condition of the children,” DePuyt said. The boys, whose injuries were not disclosed, were taken to a hospital and reported to be in fair condition.

Police are trying to determine what caused Spincken to jump, DePuyt said.

Social media accounts that the AP identified as belonging to Spincken show a proud father who posted photos of his toddlers and wife. On Father’s Day of 2015, he posted a photo of gifts from his children on Facebook.

Quoting the writer Elizabeth Stone, Spincken captioned the photo: “Making the decision to have a child is momentous. It is to decide forever to have your heart go walking around outside your body.”

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Write to Mahita Gajanan at mahita.gajanan@time.com