US & Canada

'Miracle' US children survive after father's leap from bridge

The Wanaque River flows under The Crescent Bridge and Interstate 287 in Wanaque, N.J, Tuesday, Oct. 25, 2016 Image copyright AP
Image caption The Wanaque River flows under the highway bridge where the man leapt from

Two young children have survived after their father jumped off a motorway bridge in the US state of New Jersey with them in his arms.

John Spincken died after leaping off the 100-foot high (30m) bridge into a wooded area, state police said.

His sons, who are aged one and three years old, were found conscious nearby and are expected to make a full recovery.

Local police called it "nothing short of a miracle".

The children are being treated in hospital for serious but not life-threatening injuries.

"If there's a silver lining, it's that the kids are OK," said Pequannock Township police captain Christopher DePuyt.

Saved by branches

New Jersey State Police said in a statement a preliminary investigation showed the father intentionally jumped from the bridge.

John Spincken had been arguing with his wife when he threatened to hurt both himself and the children before leaving with them, media reports say, citing authorities.

Police tracked him to the bridge by his mobile phone and found his vehicle there. He had scaled a high fence designed to stop people from jumping off the bridge before doing so himself, Mr DePuyt said

It is believed that the children were saved by tree branches.

The 37-year-old father had regularly posted photos and loving comments about his family on social media.

Police in Pequannock say they did not have a history with the family, although they had lived elsewhere in New Jersey in the past.