"Very tragic for us": Men who went missing after jumping off Martha's Vineyard "Jaws Bridge" identified as brothers
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Church member recalled Bulgin brothers after one found dead, one still missing off Martha’s Vineyard

Church member recalled Bulgin brothers after one found dead, one still missing off Martha’s Vineyard


The man who went missing after a group of people jumped off the “Jaws Bridge” on Martha’s Vineyard has been identified as 21-year-old Tavaughn Bulgin. His older brother, 26-year-old Tavaris Bulgin, died in the incident.

Of the four people who jumped off the bridge Sunday night, only two resurfaced. Authorities were called to the scene, and they located Tavaris Bulgin’s body Monday morning.

Authorities have continued to look for the younger brother, but they suspended their search before 3 p.m. Tuesday due to “poor weather that caused dangerous conditions.” Authorities say they have cleared the inlet/pond side of the bridge without finding anything, but bad weather prevented them from continuing their search on the ocean side. 

Weather conditions will determine when the search can resume — and a coastal storm coming through on Wednesday could bring high surf to the area. 

State and environmental police are using a side scan sonar device to detect anything unusual in the water or on the ocean floor.

“If the EPO sonar detects an anomaly our Underwater Recovery Unit members will dive on it to determine what it is,” state police said. “The overall area they have searched/are searching is very large, encompassing both the inlet on the land side of the bridge and the ocean on the seaward side.”

The “Jaws Bridge” on Martha’s Vineyard.

CBS Boston – Tom Matteo

The brothers are from Jamaica. They were working as seasonal workers at Nomans Restaurant and living in Oak Bluffs.

“We are saddened by all that has happened,” family spokesman Reverend Rhoan Parkins told Television Jamaica. “We just want to say to the public we want your prayers for them. We are hoping that we’ll be able to pull things together to get all the facts involved.”

Their father is a pastor at a church in their hometown.

“This is indeed very tragic for us. It’s a loss for the church. It’s a loss for the community and I’d say a loss for the country. It’s a very sad day for all of us,” Parkins said. 

The search for the swimmers began late Sunday night. The depth of the water under the bridge is about 15 feet. The Oak Bluffs fire chief told WBZ-TV’s Louisa Moller that the tide was coming in at the time, and was undoubtedly very fast. 

The bridge, which is officially named the American Legion Memorial Bridge according to State Police, is on Beach Road and connects Edgartown and Oak Bluffs. It became a landmark after appearing in the 1975 hit film “Jaws,” which was shot on the Vineyard.

Even as crews searched for the missing man on Monday, young people continued to jump off the bridge. 

“I was surprised, even after they finished blocking it off, that people came back to jump,” said Russell Bell, a summer resident of the island. 

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