EDGARTOWN – Search teams returned to the water Tuesday around the Jaws bridge on Martha’s Vineyard, where 21-year-old Tavaughn Bulgin is still missing after jumping off the bridge.

Four people jumped off the bridge Sunday night. The man’s 26-year-old brother, Tavaris Bulgin, was found dead Monday morning; two others were unhurt. 

The search was suspended 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 the weather prevented them from continuing to search 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 from Jamaica were seasonal workers at Nomans Restaurant and living in Oak Bluffs.

“We are saddened by all that has happened. 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,” family spokesman Reverend Rhoan Parkins told Television Jamaica.

The Bulgins 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. 

Tavaughn Bulgin and Tavaris Bulgin.

Family Photo

Longtime family friend Omar George said the family believes Tavaughn likely jumped first and began to struggle. 

“Tavaris, who is the ultimate big brother, probably was trying to save him. And both of them went down,” George said. 

George described Tavaris and Tavaughn “every parent’s dream sons.”

Their mom and dad is building a home in Jamaica and I’m sure that’s why those boys came to work – to help their mom,” George said. “That’s the only consolation we have, that these were the two nicest kids.”

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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By Richard

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