SAN DIEGOS – Startling security video shows a pickup driving off a cliff at Sunset Cliffs with a father and his two toddler daughters inside.
Police say the driver was suicidal, and he was trying to kill himself and take his daughters with him.
“Originally, I got a call that the dad may have a gun and could try and drive off the Coronado Bridge,” said San Diego police K9 handler John Wiese.
Wiese said police tracked the father’s cell phone to the Sunset Cliffs area and another officer quickly spotted his pickup. Before police could activate their lights, they say the father accelerated and drove off the cliff. A nearby resident, who recorded the incident on his home surveillance camera, said Wiese was on scene and over the cliff to try and help within four minutes.
“My first thought was just to jump,” Wiese said. “But I thought if I jump and hit something, I won’t be much help. Then, I remembered I have a 100-foot leash in my car that we use for SWAT missions, and I thought if that can hold my 95-pound dog, then maybe it could hold me.”
Wiese pulled the father and two girls out of the wrecked pickup and tied the leash around one of the girls so other rescuers could pull her up to safety. A lifeguard came by boat from around the point and helped with the other daughter, who was injured. That daughter and the father were pulled up with a helicopter.
Wiese said he spoke to the father during the rescue.
“He said, “I can’t believe we didn’t die,” because he was trying to commit suicide. And then he told me the girls were actually sitting in his lap when he drove over the cliff and no one had seatbelts on,” Weise said. “I couldn’t fathom how they survived.”
Police told FOX 5 that one of the two girls had serious injuries, but both are expected to recover. The father is facing multiple charges, including two counts of attempted murder.
Important note: If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, please remember help is available through the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. It provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. You can also call a loved one, member of the clergy or 911.