Hero cop grabs suicidal man’s arm as he dangles off California bridge

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Hair-raising photos show a California sheriff’s deputy hanging onto a man as he dangles some 150 feet above a lake — after the man tried to jump off a bridge in a suicide attempt.

The intense rescue operation unfolded after the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office received a report shortly after midnight Monday that a man had threatened to jump off a bridge, prompting several agencies to check two bridges in the area.

The man was eventually located when his car was discovered near the Parrotts Ferry Bridge, which soars above New Melones Lake near Vallecito, in the early hours of Tuesday.

Authorities talked to him for about 10 minutes but he climbed over the railing and tried to jump, officials said.

Luckily, quick-thinking Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Cpl. Andrew Long lunged through the railing and grabbed the would-be jumper by one arm, holding on as the man dangled over the water.

“It was adrenaline is what it was; it was adrenaline that enabled me to do that,” Long told reporters the following day, the Modesto Bee reported.

Long said he initially attempted to defuse the situation by trying to “get to know the guy” and speaking about his family, but the man became increasingly panicked as traffic began to build up around them.

“Then he got some considerable distance from me. When he jumped, he was probably 40 to 50 feet away from me, so I had to sprint and I was just lucky enough that I dove down quick enough and I was able to grab his forearm,” he said.

Calaveras County Deputy Jason Markovitz then arrived to assist in pulling the man back to safety, before he was taken to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, officials said.

“I asked him for his (other) arm and reminded him that we all have a reason to live and he has things to look forward to and we are here to help him, and I just did my best to try to remind him of that,” added the former US Navy medic, who served a year in Afghanistan in 2011.

With Post wires

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