Police officer rappels down cliff, saves twin toddlers after dad drives car into ocean

by Laura Mize · Jun 16th, 2020 2:04 pm

A San Diego police officer rappelled down a cliff and rescued twin two-year-old girls from an overturned vehicle Saturday after their father drove off the cliff and into the ocean in a suicide attempt.

Officer Jonathan Wiese arrived at the scene of the incident before any other first responders Saturday and saw the vehicle upside down on top of a rock in the water. He grabbed a tether from his vehicle and tied it around his waist, then threw the line to colleagues who had arrived after him.

"Four or five other cops had shown up," Wiese explained, "so I pretty much threw the end of the leash to them and then I said, 'Hang on,' and I just jumped off."

Wiese made his way about 30 feet down Sunset Cliffs and found the father and two girls clinging together at the bottom.

"He was holding them and trying to tread water, but they were all going under," Wiese said. "One was awake and crying. The other one was pretty lifeless."

The officer performed rescue breathing and then sent each girl up the cliff in a canvas bag, with the San Diego Fire Department assisting from the top. A fire-rescue helicopter then removed the officer and the father from the water. As of Monday, it was unclear whether the father would face charges. One of the toddlers was in critical condition at a hospital following the incident, but doctors expect her to recover. The other girl sustained minor injuries.

"I didn't do the job to be liked every day, I didn't do it to become rich," Wiese told a local TV station. "I did it because I want to be out there making a difference and helping people, as cliché as that might sound, but I was just glad I could be there."

David Nisleit, chief of the San Diego Police Department, called the rescue "probably the most heroic thing I've seen in my 32 years."


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