Twin Girls, 2, Rescued by ‘Heroic’ Officer After Their Father Drives Them Off Cliff

June 26, 2020
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A San Diego police officer is being hailed as a hero after he helped rescue a pair of 2-year-old twin girls after authorities say their father drove them off a cliff and into the water below.

San Diego Police Department K9 Officer Jonathan Wiese got a call early Saturday morning that a man who had his two young daughters with him was threatening to kill himself by driving off of the Coronado Bridge, NBC affiliate KNSD reported.

Wiese drove to the bridge, and soon realized that the man had careened off of Sunset Cliffs, with his car landing upside down on top of a rock, according to ABC affiliate KGTV.

Without hesitating, and with his own young family in mind, Wiese quickly jumped into action, fashioning a 100-foot long SWAT mission leash he had on him around his waist in order to rappel down the cliff and into the water.

“I could see [the man], and he had one of the girls in his arms, and I have a 2-year-old daughter at home, so I imagined, ‘What if that was my wife and kid down there?’” he told KNSD. “You’re not going to stand there on the cliff and watch it happen.”

The car was about 30 feet down, and by that point, several other cops had arrived on the scene, so Wiese was lowered down by the leash to get to the girls and their father, according to KGTV.

“He had both girls. He was holding them and trying to tread water, but they were all going under,” he recalled to KNSD. “One was awake and crying, the other one was pretty lifeless.”

Wiese told KGTV he did some “rescue breathing” to help, and soon, both girls were hoisted up by the leash and rushed to the hospital in a waiting ambulance.

The officer, meanwhile, sat with the father as they awaited a helicopter to lift him up. Wiese said that the man told him he “was going to die and the girls were coming with him.”

SDPD Police Chief David Nisleit praised Wiese’s quick thinking to KGTV, saying that Wiese — the department’s Officer of the Year — saved the girls’ lives.

“That’s probably the most heroic thing I’ve seen in my 32 years,” he said.

Added Wiese: “You just do what you have to do, but after everyone was safe, it hits you and you just want to go home and hug your kids, that’s for sure.”

GoFundMe page arranged for the girls and their mother further outlined the situation, and claimed the twins were at a relative’s home on Friday to see their father for a planned visit, but that he took them the next morning without permission.

The girls’ mother alerted police after she received “numerous calls and texts from him clearly stating she may not see her kids again.”

“Both the girls are in stable condition at a local hospital,” the page said. “They will need further assistance for future unplanned doctors visits etc. until they recover from the trauma as well as a team to get justice to keep their father in custody so this never happens again.”

The father, identified by ABC affiliate KGTV as 47-year-old Robert Brians, was arrested for two counts of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping, one count of burglary and two counts of child cruelty, online records show. He is being held without bail, and it was unclear if he has retained an attorney.

The San Diego Police Department did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for comment.

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