Sea Lion Savior

kevin hines survivor golden gate bridgeLately, there seems to be quite a bit of debate as to whether or not a sea lion saved my life after I jumped from the Golden Gate Bridge in an attempt to end my life. To be clear, there are a large number of reporters and speculators who have claimed it was really a seal… and even those who have claimed that there was nothing but me in that water, and that I was somehow able to save myself. However, I know that it was a sea lion and it is not a statistic anomaly. Marine animals (dolphins, sea lions) and other creatures have helped save humans and other animals from dangerous situations all over the world.

Here are the facts: on September 25th, 2000 due to bipolar disorder and serious psychosis, I jumped off of the Golden Gate Bridge. I was nineteen years old and after leaving the Bridge, my firstthought was that I had made a terrible mistake.

Miraculously, I survived– and despite my severe injuries, I was able to reach the surface of the water. Upon my resurfacing, I bobbed up and down in the frigid waters surrounding me. Then, something brushed by my legs, I feared it was a shark come to devour me whole. I tried to punch it thinking it might bite me. However, this marine animal (whatever it was) just circled beneath me, bumping me up.

Yes it may be hard for the average skeptic to believe, but don’t take my word for it… Call the old producers and staff of ABC’s “Primetime with John Quinones.” You see, I did not know that the creature was a sea lion, not a shark until I was featured on that show due to my work in suicide prevention and mental health.

Many viewers’ emails flooded into ABC and one of them was from a man named Morgan. He wrote:

Kevin, I am so glad you are alive as I was standing less than two feet away from you when you jumped…. And by the way it was not a shark (like you mentioned in the TV show) it was a sea lion and I have pictures.

I immediately took down his email address and phone number. I called Morgan and I asked if he would email me the pictures he took. He obliged. The problem, I unknowingly gave him my father’s email address. My dad was not prepared for, nor would he ever willingly want to see what came through to his inbox. He opened his email, clicked a button and out popped a picture from birdseye view of my near lifeless body laying atop a circling sea lion. The picture was grotesque, morbid and yet, at the very same time, beautiful.

My father was an emotional wreck and he nearly fell out of his chair. When he composed himself he showed me the picture and together we agreed that no one should see it. With the click of a button it was gone.

To those who read this, I say believe it or don’t, that’s completely up to you.  I know the truth, and in this case and that is all that matters.


About the Author

Kevin Hines Kevin Hines is a speaker, author and advocate for mental and behavioral health. He is one of 33 Golden Gate Bridge jump survivors. He is the sole survivor actively spreading the message of living mentally well and the prevention of suicide. Kevin has spoken to over three hundred thousand people about his firsthand experience with suicidal thoughts and his eventual attempted suicide. Kevin has been featured in the critically acclaimed film “The Bridge,” by innovative film maker Eric Steel, on Larry King Live with Mr. King, 20/20, Anderson Cooper 360 with Sanjay Gupta, Good Morning America with Charlie Rose, and Irelands famed Tonight with Vincent Brown. He has also written several articles about the prevention of suicide and mental health in America and recently published the memoir Cracked…Not Broken, Surviving & Thriving After a Suicide Attempt.

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Patrick Henry

I just read your story on the PETA website, very inspiring and what that sea lion, how cool was he/she? On that note, I’m part of a musical collective called One Earth. Our latest release is an anti-poaching/animal slaughter anthem entitled ‘Animals’. It’s a great song and a beautiful video. All the great iconic animals in the world are endangered, this is us doing our part to spread the word. We hope you enjoy it and if it can help your cause, you may use it as you deem fit. Thank you.

Patrick Henry from One Earth Music

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