CCTV footage shows the moment the car accelerated over the cliffside, flipping and landing on its roof in the rocky waters 50ft below.
The moment a suicidal father drove his daughters over a cliff has been captured on camera — as has the trio's miraculous rescue.
Police in San Diego received a call at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning from a frantic mother, claiming her estranged husband had taken their twin two-year-old daughters and was planning to drive off a bridge.
Dispatch issued a description of the vehicle; officers were wary of getting too close, unsure of how the father would react, and made the decision not to give chase.
However the driver apparently spotted the police tailing him, and he sped off — driving straight off Sunset Cliffs.
CCTV footage covering the beauty spot, obtained by CBS8, shows the moment the car accelerated into a ramp and launched over the cliffside, flipping and landing on its roof in the rocky waters 50ft below.
"Before I could even plan my next move, the Lieutenant said he picked up speed and drove right off the end of the cliff," responding officer Jonathan Wiese told the San Diego Tribune.
"Your heart sinks. My first thought is please tell me the girls were not in the car."
But the girls were in the car.
Wiese's first thought was to jump off the cliff, despite the darkness masking any chance of avoiding the rocks below.
Instead, the K-9 officer stripped off his gun belt and vest, tied a 100-ft canine leash used for SWAT missions around his waist, handed one end to arriving officers and rappelled down the cliffside, into the water.
There Wiese, himself a father of two young children, found the man with both girls in his arms, trying to tread water.
One girl had her arm wrapped around her father's neck, the other appeared to be lifeless.
"By the time I got to him, he had pulled both girls out of the truck and was now holding them, trying to tread water. With the waves and not having his hands, he kept going under with the girls."
Wiese put the sister who looked to be in worse shape into a canvas bag, and she was hoisted up the cliffside to first responders, before he did the same with her sibling; he never left the father alone in the water, having been told he was suicidal.
While in the water, the father told him the girls were sitting on his lap at the moment of the crash.
"So it's him and the two girls in the drivers seat going over the cliff without seatbelts on," Wiese marveled.
Wiese also pointed out afterward that the only part of the truck that had not been crushed was the driver's compartment.
"So had those girls been in a car seat in the back, they would have most likely been killed."
Miraculously, neither girl was seriously injured; both were taken to hospital and are expected to survive.
A GoFundMe set up for them by a family friend claims the father took the girls without permission after they had visited a relative; the mother received several text messages that morning from her estranged husband telling her she would never see her daughters again.
Documents show the woman filed for divorce in April, citing domestic violence.
The father, named as Robert Brians, is in jail facing numerous charges, including kidnapping and attempted murder. He is due in court on June 30.
Wiese has previously been honored for heroism, after arresting the suspected gunman in the Poway synagogue shooting of April 2019.