PLACER COUNTY (CBS13) — It was a heart-stopping landing, down the tallest bridge in California.
Placer County Sheriff’s deputies say three men parachuted to the bottom, but it was hardly a thrill when they got there.
Deputies weren’t just quick, they were backed-up.
The call came in as a suicide at the Foresthill Bridge, but officers say they spotted BASE jumpers instead.
From the top, a deputy lit them with his flashlight during their descent. More deputies and park rangers waited below, prepared to move in.
They say the jumpers tried to run, but didn’t get away.
“I saw them. It must have been about mid-span,” said Ron Paitich, a longtime local.
He says he witnessed the same pursuit 25 years ago.
“I could hear one speaker ‘Stop where you’re under arrest this is illegal!” he recalled.
It’s a 730-foot drop down into the American River. Sheriffs deputies say despite warning signs all over and a new security gate installed at the bridge, daredevils still find their way.
“They still do stupid things on the bridge,” said Placer County Sheriffs Sgt. Andrew Scott.
Just last year, a woman taking a selfie fell 60 feet, landing on a trail below.
But Placer County Sheriffs deputies say they have zero tolerance, even for social media photo ops. Since 2015, they’ve issued dozens of citations.
“The terrain is extremely rugged. It’s a river canyon. And jumping off into areas with trees rocks river is extremely dangerous,” said Scott.
He says trespassing may be a misdemeanor, but with a killer view, it’s a priority.
They urge visitors to view the bridge from the beauty and safety on these sidewalks.
The Placer County Sheriffs Department says patrolling the bridge doesn’t cost extra because deputies only respond to calls as soon as they come in.