Baby Survives Fall Off Bridge

A day after a baby girl survived a 230-foot plunge off the Capilano Suspension Bridge, police were still trying to learn how the child fell from her mother's arms, Correspondent Reg Hampton reports for CBS News.

A tourist's photograph shows the girl's mother carrying her 18-month-old daughter in her right arm and holding the hand of her 5-year-old son. The next photo shows the woman without the baby.

Rescuers were told the mother slipped and accidentally dropped her child, but it wasn't long before the Royal Canadian Mounted Police confirmed a criminal investigation would determine whether the Down Syndrome baby was thrown from the bridge.

The mother, who was not identified, was held for 24 hours and questioned by police. She has not been charged, but police are continuing the investigation. Police issued a plea Thursday for witnesses who may have seen the incident on the bridge, a popular tourist spot that attracts 800,000 visitors over the Capilano River gorge.

The wood-and-wire suspension bridge, which shakes when people walk across it, is in a residential neighborhood in the North Vancouver mountains.


CBS
A tourist's snapshot shows the mother on the bridge after her baby fell.

The baby - now called "the miracle baby" -- was listed in good condition at B.C. Children's Hospital, suffering from what were called non-life-threatening injuries.

"It's a miracle this child has lived," RCMP Constable Heidi Hoffman said.

It is believed that tree branches broke the fall of the baby, who ended up on a rocky ledge overlooking the river.

"This is quite a remarkable survival story," said Dr. David Smith of B.C. Children's Hospital.

Head injuries usually kill children in falls, Smith said.

"Children's bones aren't quite as rigid as adults'," Smith said. "There's more give to things."

Police posted the photos of the woman on the North Vancouver RCMP Web site, hoping other people shown in the photographs would be able help piece together the story.

"What we're asking is for anybody who may have been on the bridge at the time or who recognizes somebody in the picture to come forward so we can talk to them," Hoffman said.

Police also were examining video surveillance footage taken at the time.

It is believed that tree branches broke the fall of the baby, who ended up on a rocky ledge overlooking the river.

The length of the investigation will depend on how quickly witnesses come forward, Hoffman said.