One California resident suffering from a bout of mental illness has lived to regret his suicide attempt by jumping off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. Read on for more about this amazing tale of rescue.
Kevin Hines is very lucky to be alive after trying to end his life by jumping of the Golden Gate Bridge several years ago. When the insistent voice in his troubled head told him to jump, he did, and although he felt compelled to die, the moment his fingers left the railing, he regretted his decision. Kevin was only 19 at the time of his suicide attempt and he immediately screamed to himself: 'What have I done, I don't want to die.' "I realized in that moment that I had made the biggest mistake of my life." (See: Humpback Whale Saves Biologist From Shark Attack.)
Hines fell about 240 feet in just four seconds. He crashed feet first into the waters below, crushing spinal vertebrae and breaking an ankle. He credits his survival to a sea lion that kept pushing him above the water's surface until the Coast Guard rescued him. The marine animal that he at first thought to be a shark circled beneath him, bumping him up so that he he could breathe and keep afloat. (See: Dolphins Lead Scientists To Drowning Girl.)
A passerby confirmed that the animal was a sea lion, and quickly called for help. A rescue team was able to pull Kevin from the water, but it is doubtful that he would still be alive if not for the sea lion that held his head above water until help arrived. (See: Giant Rats Save Lives.)
Doctors surgically repaired his physical injuries and after four weeks, he entered a psychiatric facility to help him deal with issues of paranoia, hallucinations and depression. Today, Kevin has found a new purpose in life in life. He travels the world to speak publicly about suicide prevention and mental health, hoping that by telling his story, others will not follow his course of action. (See: Gimpy The Elephant Seal.)
In his own words: "My goal is to try to instill hope in at least one individual so that he or she can say: 'Maybe I can stay here, maybe there are tools to fight this.' His inspiring talks have helped save numerous lives.
The Golden Gate Bridge Has A History of Suicide
Since its construction in 1937, according to Robert Olson of The Center For Suicide Prevention in Calgary, Canada, more than 1,700 people are estimated to have jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge, and just 25 have survived. There are currently plans to construct a suicide barrier net on the bridge to prevent future suicides.
Here's to Kevin and his anonymous sea lion friend.