Umpire stops woman from jumping off bridge outside PNC Park

John Tumpane called balls and strikes during Wednesday’s contest at PNC Park between the Pittsburgh Pirates and Tampa Bay Rays – just hours after he stopped to save a life.

Before arriving at the stadium in the afternoon, Tumpane – a major-league umpire since 2010 – stopped a woman from jumping off Pittsburgh’s Roberto Clemente Bridge, according to Stephen J. Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

The bridge spans the Allegheny River behind PNC Park, and is populated by Pirates fans walking to the stadium around game time. Tumpane said he was jogging on the bridge when he spotted the woman climb over the railing and stand on the edge, some 78 feet above the water; he immediately rushed over and tried to talk her back.

“I was thinking, ‘God, this has got to be a good ending, not a bad ending,’ and held on for dear life,” Tumpane told Nesbitt before Wednesday’s game. “She said, ‘You don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘I care.’ She said, ‘I just want to end it right now. I want to be in a better place.’ I said, ‘You’re going to be all right.'”

Tumpane and other passersby helped keep the woman standing on the ledge before police and an ambulance arrived to rescue her.

The 34-year-old Tumpane downplayed his own important role in saving the woman’s life, and instead noted that he was simply in the “right place (at the) right time.”

“It’s a sad day, but it ended on a positive note,” he said. “Hopefully it’s an eye-opener for her as well, and it can help her get back on track.”

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