Officers from the Charleston Police Department (CPD) and Charleston firefighters are credited with saving the life of a man wanting to jump to his death from the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge the evening of Feb. 22.
According to a Feb. 23 press release, Officer Dylan Kwitchoff was patrolling the bridge at 9:05 p.m. when he was notified by Officer Zachariah Azari about a call for a man on the edge of the bridge threatening to jump off. Kwitchcoff located the man clung to the outside railing near the apex of the bridge, who told Kwitchoff to stay back. Kwitchoff complied and began talking with him from a distance away. Azari also arrived and began talking with him. Eventually, the man reached his arm through the railing in an apparent request for help.
Police say Kwitchoff, Azari, and the original caller grabbed the man’s arm to hold onto him as other officers arrived to assist. More CPD officers arrived, including K9 Officer Joseph Hartmann, and the officers worked together utilizing the K9’s dog leash as a means to harness the man from the bridge until Charleston Fire arrived on the scene. Charleston Fire Ladder 104 B shift, Rescue 115 B Shift, and Battalion 103 B Shift and set up a quick anchor for fall protection. Firefighter O’Bamsawin then donned a harness and rappelled over the railing, where he was able to secure the man safely. Assisting firefighters and police then brought the man over the railing safely.
The man was transported to a local hospital for care, according to the press release. As they promised at the beginning, Kwitchoff and Azari went to the hospital to meet with the man, who thanked them for the care and kindness they showed him in such a time of need.
“Our troops are dedicated to helping others and saving lives – sometimes even at risk to their own lives,” Police Chief Luther Reynolds said in a statement. “The officers and firefighters who responded to this person experiencing a mental health crisis displayed an exemplary level of care and compassion. They worked together using crisis intervention training, skill, and bravery to save the life of a person they had never met. I could not be more proud of the good work they and all our courageous men and women do every day in the city of Charleston.”
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