News Release: Associated Press
October 25, 2014
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) -- The difference between life and death for a troubled soul who jumps over the tall yellow bridge that spans Tampa Bay can rest in the hands of a group of students on the Eckerd College Search and Rescue Team.
The school and its' all-volunteer marine rescue program are approximately six miles by boat from the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, which is ranked fourth for suicide jumps in the United States. There are about 50 students and three paid staff members on the team.
While the 24-7 team is the only volunteer, college-based marine search and rescue group in the country, there are other unique teams around the nation. Texas A&M has a center for Robot Assisted Search and Rescue in College Station and a handful of schools perform backcountry searches.