U of M students wrestle would-be jumper from pedestrian bridge


University of Minnesota student Alex Rongstad had barely stepped out of class yesterday afternoon when he noticed a startling scene: Someone had scaled the railing on a pedestrian bridge over Washington Avenue, and appeared to be preparing to jump.

Rongstad found himself creeping up slowly behind the man on the bridge, unsure of exactly what was happening. As he got closer, he could see the man was shaking.

"The very first thought that went through my head was, is this real?" says Rongstad. "Is he really struggling? Is he just sitting on the ledge?"

The walking bridge -- located on the East Bank of campus, right in front of Coffman Union -- runs over a busy section of Washington Avenue, and Rongstad feared the jump could be deadly if the man leapt into traffic.

A couple other concerned passersby grabbed onto the would-be jumper and pulled him over the railing while Rongstad talked him through it. He says the man didn't try to resist their help.

"I told him, 'We're going to lift you up here buddy," he recalls.

After pulling him over the bridge, University of Minnesota Police arrived and transported the man to the hospital.

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