Captain Who Rescued Jumper Says She Wanted to Live
Bradenton Charter Boat Captain Kris Winkel quickly spotted the woman who jumped from the Skyway Bridge and went into action. He is credited with saving her life.
A woman who jumped from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge this morning "wanted to survive" said the Charter Boat Captain who plucked her from the water, saving her life.
Captain Kris Winkel, who operates his charter business Tailing Tales out of Bradenton, didn't see the woman jump and never heard the splash. But he did hear a lot of commotion up on the bridge, people shouting and pointing to the water. Winkel looked in the channel and saw what he first thought was a buoy. He quickly realized what must have happened.
"I saw what I thought was a crab trap buoy," Winkel said. "It was the girl. We put two and two together. We were there pretty quick. She was floating towards the Gulf and she was alive."
He headed toward the spot thinking that he was going to find a body, but then the woman lifted her hands over her head and waved to him for help. He said she was in the shipping channel and the tide was quickly pulling her into the Gulf.
Winkel said he was fortunate that the weather was good and that the folks who had chartered his boat were all ex-military, including someone who had served in the Coast Guard.
"They helped get her in the boat," Winkel said. "They weren’t freaking out. They all knew what they were doing. It didn’t ruin their day."
The woman had lost most of her clothes when she hit the water, so they immediately covered her up and a woman on the boat came and sat with her. The rescued woman said she was in pain and may have had a broken leg or pelvis, Winkel said. She also had cuts on her feet and legs, which made him think she had hit the rocks.
Winkel said he was amazed that she was alive, but even more so that she was also conscious and talking.
"People don’t survive that," he said.
Winkel said the woman was hurt and scared, but it was obvious she was grateful to be alive.
As soon as they got her in the boat and comfortable, Winkel called emergency services and they told him to take her to O'Neill's Marina where rescue workers would meet the boat.
The woman was taken to Bayfront Medical Center where she is currently in stable condition. In a news release Captain Tim White, Incident Commander for SPFR said that the fishermen, “saved her life.”
It's not the Winkel's first rescue. Three years ago he said he was out in the boat when he spotted to dogs about a mile off shore and being pulled out to sea by the tide.
Winkel said they were two gorgeous chocolate labs who were really happy to see him. As soon as he got near them they were trying to climb into the boat he said. They let him pull them into the boat by the scruff of their necks.
The dogs were wearing collars with tags, so he called Animal Services and the dogs were returned to their family.