16-year-old survives Golden Gate Bridge fall

Just at the south end of the Golden Gate Bridge is Fort Point, which, according to the National Park Service, has "stood guard at the narrows of the Golden Gate for nearly 150 years. It has been called 'the pride of the Pacific,' 'the Gibraltar of the West Coast,' and 'one of the most perfect models of masonry in America.' When construction began during the height of the California Gold Rush, Fort Point was planned as the most formidable deterrence America could offer to a naval attack on California. Although its guns never fired a shot in anger, the 'Fort at Fort Point' as it was originally named, has witnessed Civil War, obsolescence, earthquake, bridge construction, reuse for World War II, and preservation as a National Historic Site. "Fort Point was built between 1853 and 1861 by the U.S. Army Engineers as part of a defense system of forts planned for the protection of San Francisco Bay. Designed at the height of the Gold Rush, the fort and its companion fortifications would protect the bay's important commercial and military installations against foreign attack. The fort was built in the Army's traditional 'Third System' style of military architecture (a standard adopted in the 1820s), and would be the only fortification of this impressive design constructed west of the Mississippi River. This fact bears testimony to the importance the military gave San Francisco and the gold fields during the 1850s."
Photos and text by Daniel Terdiman/CNET

SAN FRANCISCO — Officials say a 16-year-old girl has survived a fall from San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.

The Fire Department and the U.S. Coast Guard say the girl was in the water for 20 minutes Sunday before being pulled to safety conscious and responsive.

She was transported to Marin General Hospital but her condition wasn't immediately available.

The San Francisco Chronicle reports that it's not known if the girl jumped or fell.

Officials say about 25 people per year die in jumps from the bridge, roughly 200 feet above the water.

In March, a 17-year-old boy survived after leaping from the bridge. Officials don't believe it was a suicide attempt.

Large bridges across America are magnets for the mentally ill looking to end their lives. Officials in the San Francisco bay area in particular struggle with this, as the Golden Gate Bridge is well-known for seeing dozens of jumpers a year. In 2010, 32 people leapt to their death there, reports the Chronicle. Thirty-one people committed suicide from the span in 2009, and 34 died there in 2008.

The Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has been trying to raise $50 million for construction of a suicide barrier since 2008, reports the Chronicle.