Divers Find Body Of Man Possibly Connected To House Explosion
TARENTUM (KDKA)- Divers have found the body of a man who jumped from the Tarentum Bridge into the Allegheny River.
Family members say 43-year-old Michael Swiklinkski’s car was found near the Tarentum Bridge Thursday evening. Witnesses reported seeing a man jump from the bridge into the river.
“The guy got out of his car, he got up on the bridge, they were trying to stop him from jumping,” said one witness. “Next thing I knew, he was in the water. He landed face-first, belly flopped, just went right underneath the water, never came back up.”
KDKA’s Bob Allen Reports:
Rescue crews used boats and a jet ski device in the search for Swiklinkski. They are now working to bring the body ashore.
“Witnesses have a man on the bridge, the call came in as a disabled vehicle, witnesses saw him exit the vehicle, jump off the bridge and people on the river in a pleasure boat saw the impact of him going into the water and something appeared to be around his waist,” said Tarentum Police Sgt. Mark Glogowski.
If he did have weights on him, officials said that could have impacted the search efforts.
“That could be a good thing if he’s weighted down, he will stay in the area and it could be a bad thing because he won’t surface,” said Tarentum Fire Chief Rich Heuser.
Heuser also said thanks to witnesses, as they saw the exact spot that Swiklinkski may have entered the river.
Divers were preparing to go into the water late Friday morning. And since that area is a navigational channel, the river had to be shut down by the Coast Guard before divers could go in.
Swiklinkski is the ex-boyfriend of Tina Slomkoski, who was severely burned in a house explosion earlier this week. Her mobile home in Harrison Township went up in flames early Wednesday morning. She was taken to the hospital with burns over a quarter of her body. She is still in critical condition.
Facebook messages from Swiklinkski after the explosion said he regretted hurting Tina and that he is “suffering so much, I’m almost dead too.”
A few weeks ago Swiklinkski was arrested and charged with assault and harassment for allegedly beating Slomkoski. Police say it was the second time in July she had visited the hospital.
Slomkoski had received a protection of abuse order against Swiklinkski in recent weeks.
KDKA’s Brenda Waters Reports:
Swiklinkski’s family was at the scene in Tarentum last night and claims he had nothing to do with Wednesday’s explosion. They say he checked in to UPMC St. Margaret’s Hospital on Monday and wasn’t released until Thursday. Family would not say why he was in the hospital.
Officials speculated that a ruptured line leading from propane tanks to Tina’s home caused the explosion on Wednesday. The Allegheny County fire marshal is investigating the cause and will hand over their report to Harrison Township police.