Albert Ybarra helped to save Everardo Meza and Jorge Lopez from drowning, Hayward, California, September 7, 2004. In a highway accident on a bridge, Everardo, 4, and another boy were thrown from a van over the bridge railing and 20 feet down into San Francisco Bay. Another passenger from the van, Lopez, 31, who was Everardo’s father, jumped into the water from the bridge and held onto Everardo. The water was cold and, because of the incoming tide, was moving swiftly away from that side of the bridge. Ybarra, 33, field technician, came upon the scene while driving on the bridge. Seeing Lopez and Everardo struggling at a point about 100 feet from the bridge, Ybarra removed his shoes and, not knowing the depth of the water, jumped from the bridge. He swam to Lopez and grasped the back of his shirt, then began to return to the bridge, towing him and Everardo. When they had covered about half the distance, another man jumped from the bridge and swam to them. He took Everardo from Lopez and swam back to the bridge as Ybarra continued with Lopez. Those on the bridge had lowered a cable and rope from a tow truck, and by means of those lines all four were pulled from the water. Lopez and Everardo received hospital treatment for abrasions. Ybarra bruised his thigh, and he recovered. The other boy was not found.
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