Would you put your own life at risk to save another?When Jonathan Bauer saw a dire situation unfolding right in front of him on a highway bridge, he didn’t even think twice.He took off his shoes and jumped into the water.Jonathan was out running a few errands with his daughter on 2 May 2021. It was a warm day, so they were driving with the windows open.
Suddenly, he found himself involved in a five-vehicle accident on the Maryland Route 90 Highway bridge over Assawoman Bay.With a screech of tires, he saw a truck lose control and careen into the bridge’s guardrail.Like a scene from a horror movie, the force of the impact caused the truck to tip over, leaving its back wheels teetering precariously over the rail.
But Jonathan didn’t have time to react – he was caught in the collision as another vehicle slammed into his car.
“There was glass everywhere, all through [Ava’s] hair, all over the car and the dashboard, so I immediately stopped to check [Ava] was OK,” Jonathan told WJLA.
Then, he heard someone yelling from ahead and saw that someone was trying to get out of the truck that was hanging over the bridge. He didn’t waste another second and ran over to help.
But the situation was even worse than it seemed.
The man managed to get out of the truck before Jonathan got there, but something was horribly wrong. The man was paralyzed by shock but managed to point down into the water.
That’s when Jonathan saw an empty car seat.
“He just pointed down at the water and when I looked over I saw the car seat,” Jonathan told WJLA. “…and then about six feet away from the car seat was a little girl. She was on her back, completely floating, head completely out of the water, arms moving, legs kicking, and a little pink dress.”
Before he knew it, the little girl had flipped onto her stomach in the water. He had to jump in.
Jonathan didn’t even give what he was about to do a second thought.
He took off his shoes and jumped at least 25 feet off the bridge and into the freezing water.
“I swam over to the girl and popped her up out of the water. I looked at her and her mouth was open and her eyes were open and I put her over my shoulder, very high, and aggressively pat her on the back,” he told Inside Edition. “Within seconds she spit up a bunch of water, a lot of water, and started coughing.”
But now, who would rescue him?
Thankfully, Joe and Alayna Oertal were out boating that day and saw Jonathan bobbing in the water.
“After everyone was secured, we zoomed there as fast as we could,” Alayna told People.
When asked what Jonathan’s state was when they got him aboard, Alayna said:
“He didn’t say anything. He was just so shocked of what happened.”
But was the little girl okay?
The little girl was airlifted to John Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore, was given the all-clear, and released ten days later. Eight of the other victims who were hospitalized after the crash were also released.
Jonathan wanted to remain anonymous until he knew the little girl was stable. Once he knew she was okay, he opened up to reporters about his ordeal at a press conference.
But he doesn’t think of himself as a hero, he said he was just at the right place at the right time.
The Ocean City Fire Department said that Jonathan was a true hero!
“What he did was without question a heroic thing, and very courageous thing to jump into over the railing, down 25 to 30 feet into open water,” Richard Bowers, chief of the Ocean City Fire Department, told Eagle Valley News.
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