San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge has seen a record-breaking level of ‘jumpers’ in 2013, with 46 people ending their life, according to a watchdog group. This is 1.5 times higher than a year before.
The Bridge Rail Foundation urged the authorities to install a safety net to prevent further escalation of the suicide rate at the 1,280-meter bridge, which towers more than 65 meters over the entrance to San Francisco Bay.
However, the Foundation doesn’t hope for the government’s reaction any time soon.
“I know it won’t be built soon, and that’s the most frustrating thing about this,” Dayna Whitmer, board member with the organization, told Reuters.
“We hate to see any more 17-year-olds jump or 86-year-olds jump, it’s just not right,” she added.
The authorities have been planning to set up a special safety net to catch people who jump. However, $66 million are needed to build the construction. Three years ago, a company was given $5 million to design the safety net.
The previous record of suicides is believed to have been 40 or 41 fatalities in one year, Whitmer said.
The total number of those who died by jumping off the bridge remains unknown, partly because there were almost no records of the suicide rates, and also due to the fact that some bodies are never found.
Whitmer’s 20-year-old son, Matthew, is believed to have committed suicide off the Golden Gate in 2007 after he was reported missing and the car he drove was discovered near the bridge, she told Reuters.
Initially, the information on the casualties came from the spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge Highway and Transportation District, Mary Currie, who has been keeping an unofficial count of suicides since 2000.
Currie also said that police officers or others stopped another 118 people from jumping to their deaths. To stop the people from ending their lives, there are bicycle patrols, plus two to four officers on the bridge’s sidewalks, according to California Highway Patrol spokeswoman Andrew Barclay, as cited by Reuters.
In 2012, the number of suicides stood at 33.