Woman who survived her mother's bridge suicide as a toddler pushes for barriers

Mother jumped off Coronado bridge holding daughter

(KGTV) - Not many people have a Coronado bridge story like Bertha Loaiza.

Loaiza was 3-years-old in August of 1985 when her mother jumped from the 246-foot tall bridge holding her.

The mother and daughter were unconscious when fisherman pulled them out of the harbor. 24-year-old Angelica Medina never took another breath, but responders were able to resuscitate Bertha.

“Honestly it’s hard for even me to believe,” said Loaiza, who suffered a broken hip and cataracts in her right eye from the incident, “My memories blocked out — but I’m good now.’

Growing up, her family told her that her mother died in a car accident, but she figured out the real story as a teenager after watching an old news clip.

“It makes me sad she didn’t have the resources that are available to everybody today,” said Loaiza.

Now 36, Loaiza says she was angry at her mom when she first found out. Now, she wants to do something positive in her mom’s legacy.

“The ledge is not high enough,” said Loaiza, “We need to put more barriers.”

Loaiza is a member of the Coronado Bridge Collaborative and is among those stumping for suicide barriers along the Coronado bridge.

Caltrans debuted several designs for the barriers earlier this year, but funding and approval from agencies involved remain the biggest hindrances. 

Loaiza knows it’s difficult to stop someone from harming themselves, but she believes making it harder for those that want to will have an impact.

“I just want to know that I’ll have saved one life,” said Loiza, “And it will all be worth it."

If you or a loved are contemplating suicide, call the suicide helpline number at (888-724-7240). 

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