A youth volleyball team in California helped save a woman dangling from a bridge, who the players came upon during practice, preventing a possible suicide, the team said Sunday.
The team from Kepler Neighborhood School in Fresno is made up mostly of 7th and 8th graders.
Fresno Police Chief Jerry Dyer confirmed the team’s account, calling the members "true heroes."
“Thank God they were at the right place at the right time,” he said in a statement.
The team’s coach, Elliott Murray, said he and the 12 boys had been jogging across a bridge on Thursday when some of his players raced up to him.
“A lady is trying to jump off the bridge,” he recalled them saying.
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The woman, who Dyer confirmed was 47, had at first waved at the players, said 12-year-old Branden Ezell.
“We're walking up and she waves at us so we wave back and by the time we looked away and then look back, she's already hanging off — like full-on hanging off, just one arm holding her up,” Ezell recalled.
Murray told them to distract her for as long possible while he called the police.
“I said immediately go back up and get her attention,” he recalled. “Tell her her life matters. And do not stop.”
So one of the players, 13-year-old Elijah Gomez, started chanting, said Joshua Velasquez, 13.
“Elijah said, like, ‘Your life is worth it, no matter how much things are happening in life, you always gotta think about the positive, you gotta count your blessings,” Velasquez said.
As the woman struggled to hang on, two police helicopters buzzed overhead, Murray said. More police arrived beneath the bridge.
And the boys continued chanting.
Murray said this lasted for 10 minutes, until eventually the woman hoisted herself back onto the bridge.
“That lady was probably a mother and she's seeing all those kids tell her that your life matters, do not do this and chanting and screaming," he said. "That that gave her enough to change her motivation of wanting to kill herself."
Tim Stelloh is a reporter for NBC News, based in California.