Whenever Major League Baseball umpire John Tumpane is in Pittsburgh to work a Pirates game, he crosses the Roberto Clemente Bridge on his way to get lunch or while on a run.
On Wednesday afternoon, Tumpane took his usual route. And today, a woman is alive because of it.
Tumpane, 34, was crossing the Roberto Clemente Bridge right near PNC Park at about 3 p.m. when he saw a woman climb over the protective railing and stare at the Allegheny River below.
When people near him seemed alarmed, he ran to the woman’s side.
He put a hand on her shoulder and asked what she was doing. She replied that she wanted to get a better view. The ledge where she stood extended only about a foot from the bridge.
“I told her I’ll go buy her lunch, and we’ll talk things out and get her in a better place,” Tumpane told “The Dan Patrick Show” on NBCSN Thursday. “She told me no, just let her go, that she’d be better off on that side, and that I won’t really remember her and I don’t really want to help.
“I said, ‘No, I want to help you, let’s just talk this out.”’
Tumpane then grabbed ahold of her, hooking his arms into hers, and mouthed to another pedestrian to call 911.
The woman struggled and asked him to let her jump. “You’ll forget me tomorrow,” she told him, as Tumpane recalled to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
“I’ll never forget you,” he said. “You can have my promise on that.”
Several times before first responders arrived, the woman let both of her legs slip off the ledge.
Tumpane fought to hold on from behind a 5-foot railing. Otherwise, she would have plummeted off the bridge, he told Patrick.
“I just thought I’m going to hang on and hang on and I’m not going to let go …” he recalled.
“Obviously your adrenaline is going, and I think you get that inner strength that you never thought you had, especially when you have someone else’s life in your hands.”