Jums off



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Description: A crew from Santa Cruz was out sailing on the bay Monday afternoon, when 23-year-old Hilary Walecka says she saw someone jump from the Golden Golden Bridge and plunge 220 feet to the water below.

A crew from Santa Cruz was out sailing on the bay Monday afternoon, when 23-year-old Hilary Walecka says she saw someone jump from the Golden Golden Bridge and plunge 220 feet to the water below. When Walecka's father found the jumper in the water, he reportedly scrambled to get aboard their 38-foot vessel.

"He was alive and wanted to be rescued," Scott Walecka, 56, said late Monday. "We threw a life sling out to it. He grabbed on to it, and he was hand-over-hand on the rope to get to the back of the boat." Walecka said the man's legs appeared to be broken, although the man was otherwise "really fit, really buff." The man told his rescuers he was from Alabama. Authorities later identified him as a 31-year-old homeless man.

The man was reportedly in the water for less than ten minutes: California Highway Patrol got the first report of a jumper at 1:45 p.m. Monday and the sailboat plucked him out by 1:54 p.m. A Coast Guard ship escorted Walecka's boat to a station in Sausalito and the man was eventually transferred to Marin General Hospital to be treated.

The Golden Gate Bridge has been the site of at least 1,500 confirmed suicides in the 76 years since it opened in 1937. About 300 of those happened since the Chronicle published a map of suicides called "The Sad Tally " in 2009. Surviving the fall is rare and most jumpers hit the water at 80 mph. causing internal organs to tear apart and broken ribs to pierce their heart or lungs. Others drown or die from a combination of the two.

About two years ago, a student from Windsor High School in Sonoma jumped off the bridge during a class field trip and survived. His peers reportedly cheered him on before he jumped and he was picked up by a surfer near Fort Point.






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