Whale Island bridge jumper sparks massive manhunt

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EMERGENCY services spent more than two hours searching the water in the early hours this morning after reports of a man jumping off the bridge onto Whale Island in Portsmouth.

The coastguard dispatched crews from Portsmouth, Hill Head and the helicopter based at Lee-on-The-Solent, as well as a crew from Gosport and Fareham Inshore Rescue Service (Gafirs), to take part in the manhunt.

However, the search was called off at around 3am when police found signs that someone had left the water voluntarily.

A coastguard spokesman said: ‘The police found some wet clothes near a car park and it is believed they had then left the scene.’

Whale Island is the home of the Royal Navy shore base HMS Excellent.