PITTSBURGH (AP) — John Tumpane can’t explain why he approached the woman as she hopped over the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge on Wednesday afternoon.
The woman told Tumpane she just wanted to get a better view of the Allegheny River below. The look on her face and the tone of her voice suggested otherwise to Tumpane, a major league baseball umpire in town to work the series between the Pittsburgh Pirates and the Tampa Bay Rays.
So the 34-year-old Tumpane reached for the woman even as she urged him to let her go.
“It was just pure instinct,” Tumpane said. “You hear kind of stories of this all the time, different scenarios, people aiding and situation where I was lucky enough to be there to help and try to think of everything I could do, hanging on to her.
“At times she wanted to go the other way. I was like, ‘not on my watch, please.’ We were just hanging on.”
And saving a life.
Tumpane secured one of her arms. A bystander walked up and grabbed the other while another — Mike Weinman, an employee for the Rays — clutched her legs and pinned them to the railing while Tumpane mouthed to someone in the crowd to call 911.
What followed were chaotic moments of panic, fear and ultimately, grace.
“I couldn’t tell you how long we were waiting for everyone else to get in place,” Tumpane said. ‘Obviously another power comes into being when you’re hanging on and you know what the alternative is of you letting go and not having other people to help you.”
Tumpane, Weinman and the third volunteer clung to the…
click here to read more.