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Golden Gate Bridge Jumper Survives Plunge

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GOLDEN GATE JUMPER
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SAN FRANCISCO — Authorities recommended a psychological evaluation for a high school student who survived a 220-foot leap from the Golden Gate Bridge, although they do not believe the jump was a suicide attempt, a California Highway Patrol spokesman said.

Investigators will also recommend to prosecutors that the 17-year-old boy who jumped during a class field trip Thursday should be charged with trespassing for climbing on the bridge, CHP Officer Chris Rardin told The Press Democrat of Santa Rosa.

Rardin said he could not disclose where the boy was hospitalized or provide details on his condition. The Associated Press withheld the name of the teen because of his age.

Surfer Chris Paicos told KGO he witnessed the jump.

"As he paddled by, I asked him what he was up to, and he said it was a stunt," Paicos said.

Surviving a jump at all from Golden Gate Bridge is a rare feat. Last year, 32 people committed suicide by leaping into the water. The impact tends to cause severe internal injuries and broken bones. Those not killed by the fall itself often drown.

About 98 percent of jumps from the bridge end in death.

Yet according to the boy's Sonoma County high school, he suffered little more than bruising and tenderness.

"He was swimming on his own," said surfer Eric Wagner. "He had a little assistance just to come back in, but he made it in all right. It was pretty amazing."

The boy could face up to a year in jail and a $10,000 fine if convicted of trespassing.

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