| Neighborhoods

Larger text Larger text Smaller text Smaller text | Order Photo Reprints

Firefighters, trooper honored for saving Apollo bridge jumper

Email Newsletters

Sign up for one of our email newsletters.

Daily Photo Galleries

AlleKiski Valley Photo Galleries

Monday, Aug. 11, 2014, 12:21 a.m.

Three firefighters and a state trooper received valor awards on Friday for their efforts to save a man who jumped from the Apollo bridge.

Firefighters Randy Dunmire, Mark Fairman and John Uskuraitis with Vandergrift Volunteer Fire Department No. 1 and State Trooper Anthony Vaccaro were recognized at the Pennsylvania Firemen's Association convention in Hastings, Cambria County.

The firefighters also are members of the Armstrong County Water Rescue Team.

On May 25, the men rescued Joshua Pastrnak, 30, who escaped from an ambulance and jumped from the Leonard C. Miller Bridge in Apollo.

The ambulance stopped when Pastrnak began trying to escape as they crossed the bridge. The man climbed onto a ledge and threatened to jump. After 90 minutes of talking with police, Pastrnak jumped backward from the ledge, flipping in the air and landing on his side from a fall of about 55 feet.

The four rescuers were waiting in a raft about 25 feet downriver and pulled him out.

“They essentially saved a life by being where they were at the time and using their skills,” said Tom Schaeffer, chief of Vandergrift No. 1, who nominated the men for the award. “It's not easy to maneuver a boat like that. They had to maintain a steady position under the bridge for about an hour.”

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media.

Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.



Show commenting policy

Most-Read AlleKiski Valley

  1. Body found in Allegheny River in Harrison
  2. South Butler students push composting as a way to slow food waste
  3. CNG station approved for Harmar
  4. Route 56 in Allegheny Township reopened after fatal accident
  5. New Kensington-Arnold School Board reviews facilities use policy
  6. Deer Lakes School Board gives $10,000 raise to new Superintendent Logue-Belden
  7. Retirements help trim Arnold budget
  8. Radio Saxonburg hits the airwaves
  9. Cheswick super fan, 90, has had season tickets for almost 70 years
  10. Burrell school officials update education goals
  11. ATI Steelworker cited for picket-line incident in Harrison pays fine