Bradford

Siddal rugby league player in M62 bridge death plunge

Rakewood viaduct
Image caption Matthew Smith's body was found on farmland below the Rakewood viaduct

A rugby player has plunged to his death from a 140ft high motorway bridge after jumping from his father's lorry.

Matthew Smith, 37, is understood to have become distressed as he travelled in a truck being driven by his father on the M62 near Rochdale on Friday.

His father pulled up on the hard shoulder on the Rakewood viaduct when Mr Smith, of Elland, West Yorkshire, is thought to have jumped from the cab.

The Siddal ARLFC prop forward was found dead on farmland below the bridge.

Mr Smith leaves a partner and a three-year-old daughter.

Siddal ARLFC first team coach Steve Dyson said: "Everybody at the club is absolutely devastated by what has happened. He was a fantastic lad. He's been at the club since he was a junior.

"It was a very solemn atmosphere here on Saturday, everybody is in shock.

"He was a happy-go-lucky guy. You never know what is going on in someone's life. You just never know."

The first and second teams held a minute's silence on Saturday, while a collection was also made on behalf of the family.

A spokeswoman for Greater Manchester Police said: "Police were called shortly after 5.50am on Friday, following reports a man, in his 30s, had jumped from the cab of an HGV and over a bridge.

"The man was a passenger in the cab and there are no suspicious circumstances. A man's body has been found."

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