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Jumping Off the Golden Gate Bridge and Surviving
People do crazy things for a variety of reasons. Some think that jumping out of an airplane parachuting down 13,000 ft. is insane and suicidal, others consider it a thrill and high to experience.
The Golden Gate Bridge is iconic to the world as it spans across the bay connecting San Francisco to the North Bay and the cities of San Rafael, Tiburon, Petaluma, Healdsburg, Novato and Santa Rosa, its biggest urban area and wine country. It also is an attractive suicidal temptation for those and the end. An of their life for whatever reason.
In the past decade, 315 people have used the iconic symbol to do just that- end their existence. Nearly all who jump succeed in the jump and their objective but some 2% smash into the bay and live. I suppose they could try again-failure sucks.
However, for a very few of the few, they jump for the challenge, like parachuting- except there is no parachute. This is what Otter Villagomez of Windsor (north of Santa Rosa) did a few years ago while with his class field trip visited the bridge.
As his class began crossing the bridge, Otter surveyed the view and thought how cool it would be to just do it, jump off the effing bridge. To him, suicide or death, never entered his mind. It was all about the challenge. He had been use to jumping off bridges in the Folsom area for years for kicks. As the walk across became scattered, Otter was with some homies and he turned to them, "I'm going to jump off the bridge". They thought he was joking, then, "Here, hold my stuff".
The next thing they knew was Otter had climbed on the rail with friends freaking out trying to pull him back but failing. Otter was now standing holding onto the cable and climbed down onto an I-beam. He stared way down, then, thought, "Just go for it".
As others watched in horror as his body descended, Otter recalled that immediately after the jump for a second or two, you just see the horizon. You are able to think and then slowly to descend and by mid-fall, he noticed the speed increased exponentially. The fall lasted not more than six seconds and then SMACK! The impact into the salt water of the bay he recalled was like hitting a truck but with no immediate pain.
Otter suffered a broken tailbone and punctured lung. That is all. Luckily, a surfer happened to be nearby and came to his rescue. The surfer asked him why he jumped, Otter replied, " Just for kicks". Even though he has just dropped into at the 50F bay, the fall did not put him unconscious. In fact, as the surfer pulled him onto his board, Otter wanted to try to surf! Maybe he was a bit disoriented, though. He held onto the board while trying to paddle.
Within a few days of the jump, his lungs had cleared up and Otter knows that if the fall does not kill you, the water temp will unless rescued in 10 minutes. Had the surfer not been there, he would have died. His family suffered, too, the medical bills and emergency services that went to his aid all ran into the thousands for the stunt.
Looking back, it is an experience he will never forget and does not recommend to do. He is 19 now and attending Santa Rosa Junior College. Otter went down in history also, being in the 2% club that survived the job.