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Dramatic Video Shows California Father Driving Off A Cliff With His 2-Year-Old Twins Before Officer Makes 'Heroic' Rescue
San Diego K-9 Officer Jonathan Wiese used a 100-foot leash to rappel down the cliff to save the two girls and their father, Robert Brians, in a dramatic rescue.
Dramatic video shows the moment an allegedly suicidal California father careened off a cliff with his twin 2-year-old daughters in tow—just moments before a "heroic" police officer rappelled down the cliff to save them.
Robert Brians, 47, has been booked on suspicion of two counts of attempted murder, two counts of kidnapping and child cruelty after authorities said he drove his 2-year-old twin girls off Sunset Cliffs in his pickup truck around 5 a.m. on Saturday morning, according to The San Diego Union Tribune.
The shocking video footage posted to Facebook by KFMB-TV reporter Abbie Alford shows a truck flying around a curve and then careening off the edge of the cliff, before flipping over and slamming into the rocks and water below.
Brians’ wife reportedly called authorities around 4:30 a.m. to say that her husband had taken the twins and was planning to drive off the Coronado Bridge.
A San Diego police lieutenant spotted the truck and tried to stop Brians, but he drove off the cliff, the local paper reports.
Another police officer—identified as Jonathan Wiese—arrived at the scene a short time later after hearing the call that a male subject had left his house with his twin daughters and “was possibly armed with a gun and threatening suicide,” Wiese later told local station KNSD.
The K-9 officer arrived and spotted the car below and immediately flew into action, grabbing a 100-foot leash he had in his car usually used in SWAT-related cases and tying it around his waist. He threw the other end of the leash to officers standing nearby and began to rappel down the cliff.
Once he got down to the water, he saw Brians holding both girls.
“He was holding them and trying to tread water, but they were all going under,” Wiese said. “One was awake and crying and the other one was pretty lifeless.”
Wiese helped all three get to the rocks—drawing on his training on water safety rescues from his time in the Marines—and provided some “rescue breathing” to the struggling twin, he told local station KGTV.
Police then used a backpack and leash to pull the girls up to the top of the cliff, where an ambulance was waiting.
Wiese stayed on the rocks with Brians—who allegedly told the officer “he was going to die and the girls were coming with him”—as they waited for a helicopter to rescue him.
Wiese said he made the decision to scale down the cliff to try to rescue the children after thinking of his own family.
"I could see him and he had one of the girls in his arms, and I have a 2-year-old daughter at home so I imagined, what if that was my wife and kid down there? You're not going to stand there on the cliff and watch it happen," he told local station KGTV.
San Diego Police Chief David Nisleit told the station he believed Wiese's actions saved the girls’ lives.
“That’s probably the most heroic thing I’ve seen in my 32 years,” he said.
Wiese already holds the title Officer of the Year with the department after previously being honored for helping make an arrest of a man accused of opening fire at the Chabad of Poway synagogue.
The San Diego County District Attorney is expected to decide whether to formally charge Brians with a crime on Wednesday.
Oxygen.com reached out the district attorney’s office but had not received a response as of publication time.
Adrianna Lopez, a friend of the family, told KGTV that both girls are now in stable condition.
“The action that the first responders did, we’re just forever grateful, forever grateful,” she said.