Jonathan Bauer from Maryland has been praised as a hero for jumping off a bridge into Assawoman Bay to save a drowning 2-year-old child.
At first, he chose to remain anonymous. But on Friday, May 7, he met up with Ocean City emergency officials and finally shared his story publicly for the first time.
Bauer said that he was running errands with his 13-year-old daughter on the Route 90 bridge over Assawoman Bay in Ocean City on May 2. Five vehicles collided not far from him, causing a pickup truck to be thrown up onto the guardrail and come to rest teetering there.
The girl was thrown from the pickup truck and landed in Assawoman Bay while still in her car seat, which undoubtedly saved her as the impact dislodged her from it.
“First thing I remember hearing was the tire screech, and then the truck swaying back and forth like it was losing control,” Bauer said in the conference.
Bauer said, “And 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, in a little pink dress,” he recalled.
He said he searched around desperately to see if there were any boats nearby that could help her.
Then Bauer decided to make a 25-feet-dive into the water without hesitation.
“I popped up, swam over to the girl, lifted her out of the water and looked at her,” he said.
“Her mouth was open, her eyes were semi-open and then I put her against my shoulder very high and aggressively patted her on the back. And within seconds she spit up a bunch of water—a lot of water—and then started coughing and took a deep breath,” added Bauer.
Bauer handed the toddler over to two boaters who had noticed the mishap and had come over to help. The girl was then airlifted to a Baltimore hospital.
The Associated Press citing Ocean City police spokeswoman Ashley Miller saying on Tuesday, May 4, that the girl was released Monday night and was at home with her family.
Bauer was dubbed a “humble hero” by Ocean City Fire Chief Richard Bowers for putting his own life on the line by plunging into the shallow water from a high vantage point.
“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,” Bowers said.
Bauer’s wife said she was proud of him.
“It doesn’t surprise me. If you know him, that is something he would do,” Wendy Bauer told WJLA.