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) — The split-second reaction, that saved a life.
A Tuolumne County Sheriffs Deputy grabbed ahold of a man the moment he jumped off a 150-foot bridge near Angels Camp. The unbelievable rescue was caught on camera.
The deputy thrust his arm through a rail at the Parrotts Ferry Bridge fast enough to catch the man mid-fall.
“It took less than a tenth of a second to react and grab him. Any other delay, he would have fell 150 feet down to the water,” said Sgt. Greg Stark with the Calaveras County Sheriffs Office.
Sgt. Stark said this split-second rescue came after ten hours of searching for the man. The initial 911 call said the man was threatening to jump off a bridge. When deputies finally found him, they tried to talk him down.
“We’re there to help, we’re there to bring them to some type of service that will help take them out of their crisis,” said Sgt. Stark.
The deputy held on to the man for a full 30 seconds before backup came and helped pull him over the rail. Even though this man still jumped, deputies said he seemed calm and ready to be helped after the ordeal.
“Most deputies get into law enforcement because they wanted to help somebody. I can’t think of a better way to help somebody than reacting in a tenth of a second to prevent them from taking their own life,” Sgt. Stark said.
Deputies say they are responding to more and more mental health situations during the pandemic. They train for moments like this to be prepared and keep a sense of calm that could save a life.