June 8, 2021 by Cathy Stack
Without hesitation, Jonathan heroically jumped off the bridge into the shallow waters more than 30 feet below to rescue the helpless toddler.
Jonathan recalled that the unforgettable day started out as a typical Sunday. He had been running errands with his teenage daughter, Ava. It was a sunny day, so he had his car windows down.
“The first thing I remember is hearing the tires screech,” Jonathan recalled. Then he saw the truck in front of him lose control, hit a cement barrier, and flip onto the guardrail. The accident also involved several cars, one of which struck Jonathan’s own vehicle. Amid the noise and glass shattered everywhere, Jonathan immediately checked on his daughter to see if she was OK. Ava was shaken but uninjured.
Jonathan then got out of the car to see if he could help the other drivers involved in the crash. He heard yelling coming from the truck that dangled dangerously off the bridge railing. When he ran to the truck, he saw the panicked driver pointing below, in the direction of the open waters. Jonathan looked down and, to his shock, saw a car seat in the bay, with a baby girl in a pink dress just a few feet away. The infant was floating on her back, arms moving and legs kicking. He looked away to instruct his daughter where to alert first responders. Seconds later, he looked below again. The child had flipped onto her stomach, face down in the water.
Jonathan knew there was no time to waste. Without hesitation, he removed his shoes and leaped off the bridge in a desperate attempt to save the baby. Ava waited and watched, terrified that her father would not survive the harrowing rescue.
“It was probably the scariest moment of my life, seeing my dad jump off the bridge,” Ava recalled.
Jonathan swam to the baby just as she was sinking beneath the water.
“Her mouth was open; her eyes were semi-open. I put her against my shoulder very high and aggressively patted her on the back. And within seconds, she spit up a lot of water and then started coughing and took a deep breath,” he recounted.
Moments later, another family—in a pontoon boat piloted by their own teenage daughter— sped to help. They pulled Jonathan and the baby out of the water and ushered them safely to shore, where they met waiting emergency responders. The toddler was airlifted to the Johns Hopkins Children’s Center hospital. After the event, the hero quietly slipped away, preferring to remain anonymous.
The 2 -year-old girl has since been released from the hospital and is expected to make a full recovery, thanks to her hero. All seven other victims involved in the crash were taken to the hospital for evaluation and also released.
The community and Ocean City Fire Department wanted to show their appreciation to the humble hero. They tracked Jonathan down and invited him and his family to a press conference. During the event, the Ocean City mayor awarded Jonathan a plaque honoring his heroism. Jonathan modestly said he was just in the right place at the right time.
“I can’t say how proud I am of him,” said his wife, Wendi.
PassItOn and Foundation For A Better Life believe Jonathan Bauer is a true hero. His action is a great example of bravery. Despite his fear of heights, he courageously put his own life at risk to save an infant's life hanging in the balance. A tragic event was averted by his immediate, lifesaving,action, which revealed the best in humanity. Please help us celebrate this humble hero by sharing his inspiring story.
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