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Quick thinking saves lives.

Salvador Agustin was driving across California's Hayward-San Mateo Bridge last September when he noticed a group of people near the bridge's edge, staring into the waters of San Francisco Bay. A damaged Mercury Villager minivan sat on the bridge, indicating that an accident had happened, and Agustin could see three people in the water, but none of the onlookers were taking action. "They need help.... We need to help them," shouted the 28-year-old nurse, according to the San Jose Mercury News.

Those floundering in the bay included Edmundo Meza, a three-year-old boy who had been thrown from the minivan; Jorge Lopez, a passenger in the van who had jumped in after Edmundo; and Alberto Ybarra, another motorist who had also jumped in the bay to save the victims. (A second boy had also been thrown into the bay, but his body was not found.)

Agustin swam against the strong currents of the bay's chilly waters and took young Edmundo from the exhausted Lopez, while Ybarra helped Lopez back to the bridge.

Someone threw a rope off the bridge to Agustin, who wrapped it around the toddler. The rope slipped off the boy, however. By this time, another good Samaritan, Patrick Harris, had stopped at the scene with his tow truck. He lowered a tow cable into the water and hoisted up Ybarra and young Edmundo, and then Lopez. Someone else lowered a rope from the bridge and pulled up Agustin.

In a ceremony held on November 22, the California Highway Patrol honored Agustin, Ybarra, and Harris for their efforts.

"These citizens took it upon themselves to try to save lives without regard for their own," CHP spokesman Christian Oliver told the Mercury News.
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Article Details
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Author:Mass, Warren
Publication:The New American
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:May 2, 2005
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