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Man survives jump off Golden Gate Bridge

Published: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, May 21, 2013 at 10:33 a.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — A man survived a jump off the Golden Gate Bridge on Monday and was rescued by a sailing crew, a newspaper reported.

Scott Walecka told the Santa Cruz Sentinel ( he was taking his 38-foot vessel to San Francisco around 2 p.m. when his daughter saw the unidentified man jump. They heard a Coast Guard radio call for a jumper in the water moments later and sailed toward the man after spotting him underneath a California Highway Patrol helicopter.

"He was alive and wanted to be rescued," Walecka said.

Walecka, 56, of Santa Cruz, said the man grabbed a life sling they threw overboard. His legs appeared to be broken, but he was able to grab the sling and pull himself to the back of the boat.

He described the man, who authorities said was 31 and homeless, as "buff" and "fit." He said he was from Alabama, but appeared incapable of saying much else, Walecka said.

They sailed to a Coast Guard station in Sausalito accompanied by a Coast Guard vessel. From there, the man was transferred to Marin General Hospital. His condition was not immediately known.

More than 1,500 people have jumped to their death from the span since it opened in 1937, making it one of the world's most active suicide spots. It's not clear what prompted the man to jump on Monday, but few people survive the 220-foot plunge.

Most jumpers die a grisly death, with massive internal injuries and broken bones. Others drown.

The bridge's board of directors has approved a net system to prevent suicides, and the final design for the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.


Information from: Santa Cruz Sentinel,

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