CONTENT WARNING: This article contains information regarding suicide. If you are struggling with depression or have thoughts of suicide, there is help. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline toll-free number, 1-800-273-TALK(8255).
CALAVERAS COUNTY (CBS13) — It’s a moment Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Deputy Corporal Andrew Long will never forget: when his split-second move saved a man’s life.READ MORE: Stimulus Check Latest: When Could You See Another Economic Relief Payment?
A man was threatening to jump off a bridge near Angels Camp early Monday morning. Law enforcement began searching for the man once the 911 call came in.
CBS13 asked Long what was going through his mind as deputies and search and rescue teams from different agencies searched for this man.
“I was just hoping that we weren’t too late, to tell you the truth. We always want to get there before something happens,” Long said.
But getting to that bridge was half of the battle for this particular call. The first call was vague and didn’t specify which bridge the individual was threatening to jump from on Monday. So deputies searched for 10 hours, finally landing on the Parrots Ferry bridge in Calaveras County.
Long said he began talking to the man trying to talk him out of jumping; learning a little about who the man was. But, as talking continued and more search and rescue teams arrived, the man jumped to what would’ve been a 150-foot-fall.
“When he jumped, he was probably 40-50 feet away from me. And so I had to sprint,” Long said. “And I was just lucky enough that I dove down and quick enough and I was able to grab his forearm.”
This deputy’s strength and speed propelling him to make this death-defying rescue.
The quest to hold onto the guy made tougher by a thin gap in the railing of the bridge, sweat soaking the man’s shirt and an existing injury.READ MORE: Third Stimulus Check: Why Your Next Relief Payment May Not Be $1,400
“I actually had a broken thumb that day so, which didn’t help me trying to grip on to his arm,” Long said.
Straining to hold this man’s arm — broken thumb and all — another deputy from the Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office stepped in to help Long. Shortly after that, a member of one of the search and rescue teams used a rope system to pull the man to safety.
“There’s no way you can train for that. You have to do something and you hope it works. And, I was very lucky, and I believe he was lucky that it did work,” Long said.
The man was taken to the hospital but sustained no injuries according to Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office. Long also said that it was a good group effort to help save this man’s life.
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It was an act by Long that didn’t go unnoticed by others who wear the badge.
“It took less than, you know, less than a tenth of a second to react and grab him. Any other delay, he would’ve fell about 150 feet down into the water,” Sgt. Greg Stark, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, said.
There wasn’t a second of hesitation doing what long calls all part of the job.
“This is what we do. We are here for people’s worst and their best days,” Long said.MORE NEWS: Police Warn Of Fake Jewelry Scammer Roaming Woodland, Yolo County
Long also stated that those who are looking for or are in need of mental health support or resources to should seek out those outlets; specifically mentioning the National Suicide Hotline and the Veterans Crisis Center.