Police Grab to Save Man in Suicide Leap : Hansen Dam: Officers struggle to hold onto Antonio Andrews while firefighters rappel down floodgates to rescue him.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Police officers grabbed a 21-year-old man as he tried to kill himself by jumping off Hansen Dam, and held the struggling jumper until firefighters rappelled down the floodgates to rescue him, police said Monday.

Police were called to the dam by the groundskeeper of a golf course who sighted Antonio Andrews of Arlete perched on a small pillar in the restricted area of the dam, said Police Sgt. Joseph Satow. A friend of Andrews, who was trying to coax him down, said Andrews had tried to kill himself earlier that day, Satow said.

Police officers called to the scene were unequipped to rescue the jumper, Satow said, but spread out along the heavy metal fence that separated them from Andrews and tried to talk him down.

As firefighters prepared to lower themselves on ropes--rappel--down the sides of the floodgates, Andrews began to bounce up and down on the balls of his feet, "as if he were on a pool spring diving board," Satow said.

Andrews jumped as Officer Steven Johnson reached through the fence and grabbed his wrist and hand, Satow said. Firefighters began rappelling toward Andrews, but Johnson was losing his grip on the struggling jumper, Satow said. Officer Victor Castrow also grabbed at Andrews, and another officer passed a pair of handcuffs to firefighters as they approached, Satow said.

The firefighters handcuffed Andrews, and he was taken to Olive View-UCLA Medical Center for a three-day psychiatric examination, Satow said.

Satow added that the officers involved will all be considered for awards for their heroism.

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