A 39 year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of attempted murder after he dropped a three-year-old girl 30ft off a bridge into a river.
Greater Manchester Police believe the incident at Astley Bridge, Bolton, where officers were forced to pull the toddler and man to safety, may have been an attempted murder-suicide.
The man was approached by officers at around 8.30pm yesterday in Crompton Way where he was threatening to drop the toddler into the river below.
He refused to speak to specially-trained police negotiators and dropped the girl into the water, before jumping in himself.
An officer who was already in the river quickly rescued toddler, and she was taken to hospital where she was found to have a broken wrist.
After both were out of the water, a witness claims he heard the man asking medics if the child was okay.
The man was arrested after a three-year-old girl was dropped 30ft off a bridge in Crompton Way, Bolton (pictured) into the river below
After plunging into the water, the man was also recovered and taken to a nearby car park, where he was found to have minor injuries.
He was later arrested on suspicion of attempted murder.
Joiner, Stephen Lomax, heard the commotion from Cineworld car park in The Valley near Astley Bridge.
He told the Bolton News: ‘I heard shouts and screaming, the man had a deep growl. The little girl must have been terrified.’
Mr Lomax, 34, said that following the rescue from the river, police took the man to the car park nearby where they waited for an ambulance.
In the car park he claims he heard the man ask if the child was okay.
Mr Lomax had been driving down Crompton Way towards Astley Bridge when he was turned back at the police cordon.
He saw police arrive at the Cineworld car park and head towards the river with torches for the rescue operation.
Superintendent Paul Savill, of Greater Manchester Police’s Bolton borough, said: ‘Thankfully the little girl will recover from her physical injuries, but the trauma she was put through is heart-breaking.
‘My thoughts are with her and her family.
‘We have arrested a man on suspicion of attempted murder.
‘He will be questioned by police at the earliest opportunity.
‘We have a specialist team of negotiators who always try their utmost to resolve these situations without injury and get people the support they need.
‘Sadly, on this occasion, the man failed to engage; however, we had a second team waiting in the water to enable us to rescue the child within seconds of her entering the water.
‘We will now ensure that the little girl and her family have all the support going forward, to help her make a full recovery.’
The matter has been referred to the Independent Police Complaints Commission.
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