Madeira Beach, Fla.- Roy McLaughlin says he and his family were out for a night of fishing under the John's Pass Bridge when something horrible happened.

"You hear glass falling, we just thought someone had tossed a bag of trash over the side," said McLaughlin.

Instead, it was a person, 31-year-old Joseph Schleg, who'd fallen an estimated 25 feet straight down from the bridge above.

"He didn't realize there was no concrete there to support him so when he jumped he just fell. And unfortunately, he fell head first on his right side."

"All I could think in my head was like 'Help! Help!' and I started screaming it, too," said Roy's 12-year-old daughter, Alexia.

The McLaughlin's immediately called 911. Emergency crews arrived to airlift Schleg by helicopter to Bayfront Medical Center with a fractured skull and multiple broken bones.

"He was not conscious, he was breathing, but very labored breathing. He was very bloody and he had blood coming from his eye, nose, and ear," said Alexia's father.

Witnesses say Schleg and his girlfriend had just come from John's Pass Village and were trying to cross over the two spans instead of using the provided catwalk and stairs. It was a near deadly decision, one that could have injured the McLaughlins had they been fishing just a few feet over.

"180 to 200 pounds, falling from that height, had he hit one of us [it]could have broke her neck, her back, or really hurt us," said Roy.

It's not the first time someone has fallen from the bridge and, looking west, it's easy to see why. The northbound span is several feet higher, making it appear the two bridges are connected.

"In my mind, there should be some kind of netting to prevent this from happening again."

Sunday morning, Schleg is still critical at Bayfront Medical Center.

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