Despite a long-held fear of heights, after witnessing a car seat go over a bridge after a car crash, Jonathan Bauer leaped more than 30 feet to rescue the distressed toddler.
The ordeal began May 2 when Bauer and his teenage daughter Ava were out running errands. Suddenly, they were engaged in a five-car pileup on the Route 90 bridge overlooking Maryland’s Assawoman Bay.
After ensuring his daughter was okay, Bauer began checking on other people involved in the accident. Heading toward a truck that was dangling off the bridge, the owner informed him that a toddler had been ejected from his seat and floating in the bay.
Luckily, the toddler’s pink dress was billowing in the waves helping to keep the child afloat.
Bauer said, “I looked over and I saw the car seat, some other items, and then about six feet away from the car seat, I saw the little girl and she was on her back floating perfectly on her back, arms moving, legs kicking.”
After quickly scanning the water to see if nearby boats were in the area to help, he decided to act seeing the toddler in trouble. “She had flipped over onto her stomach and her face was in the water,” he said.
Yelling at his daughter to alert EMS, Bauer took off his shoes and jumped in.
Swimming toward the toddler, when Bauer arrived she was only half conscious. Placing the child on his shoulders, he started patting her on her shoulders to expel some of the water. Within minutes, local boaters Joe and Alayna Oerte arrived to pull Bauer and the 2-year-old toddler out the water.
After the rescue, the toddler was airlifted to Johns Hopkins Children’s Center in Baltimore. The child has since been discharged and expected to make a full recovery.