Everard Simmons, 20 – Suicidal Behavior, Spirit Of New York Passenger, June 21, 1997, Time of Death 5:00.
On June 21, 1997, Everard Simmons, 20, of 1383 Plimpton Avenue in the Highbridge section of the Bronx, was aboard the Spirit Of New York on a East River cruise for his senior prom when he jumped off the ship upon docking, and was later found drown. There were about 400 students, guests and chaperones aboard the cruise. Police said that he had escorted a female student to the prom and had jumped from the boat as it pulled in to Pier 11 at Wall and South Streets just before 0500 hours. Reports say Simmons jumped because he had not purchased the $30 ticket for the cruise, a fact that would be discovered when tickets were collected as the passengers disembarked.
Simmons attended a FAME school, La Guardia High School. He was found in his tuxedo about nine hours later, 0145 hours, by Police and Fire Department scuba divers. Instead of paying the fare or risking prosecution, the official said, Mr. Simmons handed his date his wristwatch and other valuables, arranged to meet her on shore later and then jumped into the water in an attempt to swim to the New York Health and Racquet Club’s tennis pier, more than 100 feet upriver.
Halfway there, however, he began to flounder, witnesses told the police. ”He was crying for help,” Sgt. Paul Casey, a detective investigating the case, said. A crew member alerted by passengers, put on a life vest and dove into the water to save the passenger. Just as the crew member reached Simmons, he disappeared below the surface of the water.
Sergeant Casey said the crew member’s flotation suit and life jacket were too buoyant to enable him to dive for Mr. Simmons, who went down in water 15 to 20 feet deep.