Off-Duty San Jose Firefighter Helps Rescue Woman Who Jumped Off Bay Bridge

Clint Johnson and his friend Jane Martz were recently taking a stroll on the new pedestrian walkway of the Bay Bridge when they spotted a woman getting out of her car on the opposite side.

“I don’t know why I looked over, but I was like, that girl is going to jump,” Martz said.

That’s exactly what happened Monday afternoon. The woman did jump.

Johnson, a San Jose firefighter who was off duty at the time, said he immediately dialed 911 from his cell phone while Martz alerted a nearby Caltrans worker.

Their call sent a CHP officer rushing to the scene.

  • NATIONAL SUICIDE PREVENTION LIFELINE: Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255

Even though it was just after 3:30 p.m., the officer dropped dye in the water to help illuminate where the woman splashed down. The officer then ran across all eastbound lanes, carrying his cruiser’s spare tire. He lunged the tire into the bay.

“So she could grab a hold of it if she was able to, and to mark the area for the Coast Guard," Johnson said.

Martz also credits the officers for his swift response.

“He was amazing," she said. "But very calm and quick though.

A Coast Guard cutter later rescued the woman. It was a rescue that began with two people who were willing to get involved, and reacted extremely quickly.

"Time is amazing. Four to 6 minutes and you start having brain death," Johnson said. "I've seen a lot of people that unfortunately have not made it.

Johnson and Martz said they just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and did what any other bystander would have done in that situation.

“Yeah it was a miracle as far as the timing," Johnson said.

The rescued woman is recovering at San Francisco General Hospital.

"Life is so fragile,” Martz said. “And it could have gone either way. I'm just humbled to know that we could do our part to save her.”

Contact Us