PASADENA >> The quick thinking of a concerned father coupled with the fast reflexes of Pasadena police officers saved the life of a suicidal young woman who tried to jump from the Colorado Street Bridge Saturday, but was snatched by rescuers as she fell, authorities said.
The harrowing rescue unfolded about 1 p.m., Pasadena Police Lt. John Mercado said.
The woman’s father called police about 10 a.m. to report she had been depressed and left home about 4 a.m. without telling anyone where she was headed, Mercado said.
“In the past she had talked about jumping off the Colorado Street Bridge,” he said. “(The father) checked her credit card purchases online and saw that she had made a purchase at a Starbucks coffee shop in Pasadena.” That’s when he called Pasadena police and asked them to check the iconic 140-foot-tall bridge spanning the Arroyo Seco.
“We found her sitting on the outer ledge. We talked to her for about two hours,” Mercado said.
As Officer M. Baffigo and Officer M. Armendariz tried to persuade the woman to return to safety through vertical openings in a cement wall lining the bridge, she turned around to face them.
“She leaned back and let go,” Mercado said. “Our officers were there talking to her and were able to reach out and grab her arms. They held her as the rest of her body fell off the ledge.”
Firefighters, who were already on-scene, rushed into action, he said.
They secured the woman and removed a portion of the metal bridge fencing to pull the woman back onto the bridge, Pasadena Fire Department officials said.
The woman was physically unharmed and taken for psychiatric evaluation.
“Our search and rescue team specializes and trains in these types of rescues hoping we never have to use it,” Pasadena Fire Department spokeswoman Lisa Derderian said. “Unfortunately we see this situation too often. But Thanksgiving holiday has new meaning for police and fire knowing they were able to make a difference for a very concerned family.”
Authorities encourage those feeling hopeless or thinking of harming themselves to reach out for available help, such as the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, at 800-273-8255, or www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org.
*File Photo by Phil Coombes