Bridge worker presumed drowned in Longview

By Laura McVicker, Columbian staff writer

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A construction worker who fell Sunday from the Lewis and Clark Bridge in Cowlitz County is presumed drowned, officials said.

Charles Williams "Bill" Wiley Jr., 40, of Mississippi was identified Monday afternoon as the worker.

The man was reported missing to 911 by a fellow construction worker at about 11:25 a.m., after falling from the Longview bridge into the Columbia River. A effort that included searchers on boats from the Cowlitz and Columbia sheriff's offices and the U.S. Coast Guard did not turn up the man, officials said.

The search was suspended at 2:15 p.m., according to a news release from the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office.

Authorities said they did not yet know what caused the man to fall or why his safety equipment did not prevent the fall.