A young man survived a suicide attempt from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco - an odds-defying incident made even more unusual by a helpful marine mammal.
Wrestling with depression as a teenager, Kevin Hines jumped from the bridge in 2000. He survived the fall, only to encounter a sea lion in the bay.
"I was freaking out in those waters," Hines, who is now a mental health advocate, told the AFP on Wednesday, recounting his story as part of a suicide prevention conference in Australia. "And I was thinking I didn't die there and now I am going to die here in the water because of a creature of some sort. I really thought it was a shark and I thought it was going to take off a leg and I was panicking."
To Hines' surprise, the animal swam from below and pushed him - broken back and all - to the surface. Accounts differ regarding if the animal was a seal or a sea lion - but Hines agrees with the bystander who says he saw a sea lion.
Hines' rescue, as remarkable as it is, wouldn't be the first to put a marine mammal in the role of hero. It's a trope that dates back to Greek antiquity, and one that surfaces every few years.