A woman who apparently tried to leap to her death was saved when a war veteran put himself in serious danger by breaking her fall.

The act of heroism by the old soldier happened at a sports ground in the US city of Oakland following an American football game.

He spotted the woman had broken into a restricted area around 50 feet above the ground. Ignoring calls from eye-witnesses to not jump, she then threw herself from the third floor of the Oakland Coliseum.

But the veteran, who is an avid Oakland Raiders fan, put himself in the way and gave her a soft landing.

Police Sgt J.D Nelson said the life-saving feat had landed the 61-year-old in hospital. He said: "He put himself in a lot of risk and right now, he is in the hospital paying the price for it.

"There are not a lot of people who would have done what he did."

It was fortunate for the woman the man had gone to collect a season ticket for the Raiders that day, after spending years following them on television.

The woman was rushed to intensive care suffering from a head injury. CNN reported the veteran's injuries were not life-threatening.