Thunderbirds honored man who jumped off bridge to save 18-month-old girl with a flight in their F-16D

Thunderbirds honored man who jumped off bridge to save 18-month-old girl with a flight in their F-16D

By Dario Leone
Jun 22 2021
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The USAF Thunderbirds honored Jonathan Bauer, a man who jumped off a bridge to save an 18-month-old girl who plunged into a bay during a car crash, with a flight aboard their twin-seat F-16D in Maryland.

The US Air Force (USAF) Thunderbirds honored Jonathan Bauer, a man who jumped off a bridge to save an 18-month-old girl who plunged into a bay during a car crash, with a flight aboard their twin-seat F-16D in Maryland.

As reported by ABC News, Bauer sprung into action on May 2, 2021 when he and his daughter were out running errands and saw a truck swerve that caused a five-car accident on the Route 90 bridge.

Bauer ran over to the truck, which was leaning over the edge of the overpass above Assawoman Bay. A man who got himself out of the truck pointed down to the water, where a child was struggling to stay afloat.

“When I looked over, I saw the car seat … and then about 6 feet away from the car seat was a little girl. She was on her back, completely floating, head completely out of the water, arms moving, legs kicking,” Bauer said to ABC.

According to a statement by the Ocean City Police Department, the child was “ejected from a pickup truck with her car seat, landing in the bay below.”

Bauer jumped off the bridge and dropped more than 25 feet into the bay below to save the toddler.

Thunderbirds honored man who jumped off bridge to save 18-month-old girl with a flight in their F-16D
Jonathan Bauer

A nearby boat picked him up and the child was handed over to first responders once they reached land. She was flown to Johns Hopkins Children’s Hospital in Baltimore and said to be in stable condition after the incident, officials said.

No one knew at first who’d saved the child because Bauer initially didn’t want to be named.

On Jun. 19, 2021 Bauer was honored by the Air Force Thunderbirds before the Air Show in Ocean City.

“His selfless act shows the best America has to offer, and we’re proud to have honored him with a flight today,” the Thunderbirds said in a post appeared on their Facebook page on Saturday praising his brave rescue.

Bauer check flight aboard the team F-16D consisted of formation flying and some basic fighter maneuvers.

For more interesting news and info about US Air Force Thunderbirds and other display teams check out Aerobatic Display Teams website.

Photo credit: U.S. Air Force / Thunderbirds Facebook Page

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Dario Leone

Dario Leone

Dario Leone is an aviation, defense and military writer. He is the Founder and Editor of “The Aviation Geek Club” one of the world’s most read military aviation blogs. His writing has appeared in The National Interest and other news media. He has reported from Europe and flown Super Puma and Cougar helicopters with the Swiss Air Force.

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