"He was floating face-up trying to dunk himself." Man saves suicidal elderly man

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) - "When he was floating face-up trying to dunk himself. That's when it hit me, that someone needs to do something much faster than calling 911 on standby," Tim Smerka, who noticed the elderly man on railing of the Stevenson Street Bridge, said.

Smerka pulled over and got out of his truck.

It was a total fluke that Smerka was at the right place at the right time. He was supposed to be back in Florida.

"I was supposed to go back to palm beach on Wednesday and I changed my flight."

A flight that changed an elderly's man life.

"He looked me in the face and clear as day said thank you very much. and to me that meant more than anything."

According to the latest numbers, more than 16% of all suicides are members of our older population. One of the leading causes of suicide among the elderly is depression. One elderly suicide happens nearly every hour and a half. Common risk factors include: the recent death of a loved one, loneliness and isolation, and fear of health issues.

It's unclear what motivated the man who jumped.  Tim Smerka is just happy he was there to jump into action.

"For me it was growing up in buffalo, you always hear about being a good neighbor and the city of good neighbors and that just came and rang true yesterday for me and probably everyone else yesterday who was here and helped."

If you or someone you know have these warning signs or could use some help call the Crisis Services  24-hour hotline is 716-834-3131, click here for more information. 

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