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Before taking his place behind home plate for a series game, Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane saved a woman’s life.
In a press conference Wednesday night, Tumpane said he saw a woman put her leg up on the railing of the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
“I thought ‘What’s this lady doing’ and right as a said that I see her she flip over the rail onto the other side,” Tumpane said. “And my instinct was just to go right at her.”
The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports the woman attempted to convince Tumpane she just wanted to look at the Allegheny River below, but her face and tone told him to grab one of her arms while a bystander grabbed the other. A third person held her legs.
The Pittsburgh Public Safety Department said the woman, 23, was from Munhall, Pennsylvania.
Tumpane said the she tried to get him to let go by arguing she was better off jumping, but he refused. “And I said ‘No c’mon, let me buy you lunch. Why don’t you come back on this side?’” he recounted. "'We’ll talk things over and it’ll all work out.'"
NBC affiliate WPXI reports Tumpane noticed the woman as he was walking across the bridge to the PNC Park in Pittsburgh for a series game between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays. Once he had a hold of the woman, he instructed some gentlemen behind him to call 911.
Sonya Toler, public information officer for the Pittsburgh Public Safety Department confirmed in an email to NBC News that Zone 2 Officers and River Rescue were notified shortly after 5 p.m. that there was a possible jumper. “They got the female to safety and transported her to a local hospital,” she said.
“I’m glad to say she can have another day with us,” Tumpane said. “This isn’t about me. I appreciate this opportunity but I know this is just for her and that people care about her.”
According to WPXI, Tumpane said, in between innings, he would look beyond the center field wall at the Roberto Clemente Bridge.
He called his wife afterward, he said in the press conference. “Not many times you call your wife to tell her you just helped save someone’s life,” he said.