'They just kept on chanting’: Middle school boys save suicidal woman by distracting her until police arrive

FRESNO, CA (KFSN/CNN) - The coach of a middle school volleyball team in California believes the 12 boys on his team stopped a woman from committing suicide by encouraging and talking her off a bridge.

The sixth, seventh and eighth grade boys on the Kepler School volleyball team were working out Thursday, jogging over the Tuolumne Street bridge in Fresno, CA, when they saw a woman climb over the edge of another bridge about 50 yards away.

"She was, like, one hand and feet hanging already,” student Brandon Ezell said. "Crazy, very traumatizing, I never seen nothing like this in my life."

The woman, identified only as a 47-year-old Hispanic female, was about to fall nearly 100 feet to the railroad tracks below, so the 12 boys immediately told their coach, Elliot Murray.

"They told me there’s a lady trying to jump off the bridge, all 12 of them screaming, 'Call 911. Call 911,'" Murray said.

Murray saw the woman dangling from the bridge, called 911 and told the boys to go back up and yell to her.

"I immediately told the kids, 'Do everything you can: chant, say ‘Stop, your life is worth it.' And they just kept on chanting,” Murray said.

Student Elijah Gomez said they kept talking to the woman, trying to distract her for around 10 minutes.

The woman managed to pull herself up to safety, and police arrived on scene. Murray believes if not for the boys on his team, she would have let go instead.

"By hearing those kids… and seeing those kids, it registered to her, 'I can't do this in front of them.' By kids chanting, 'Stop, stop, stop, don’t do that. Your life is worth it,' she made it back to the top,” Murray said.

Student Joshua Velasquez also says he feels he and the others helped save the woman’s life.

"I feel like we distracted her long enough,” he said.

Police made contact with the woman and placed her on a mental health hold for 72 hours, so she could be evaluated by mental health workers.

The boys who experienced the emotional event talked about it with a psychologist through their school.

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