In a tragedy apparently witnessed by a multitude of San Francisco-bound commuters Wednesday, an unidentified man pulled his car over on the new eastern span of the Bay Bridge and jumped to his death.
One of those witnesses is an NPR producer who works out of KQED's office. During her morning drive across the bridge to San Francisco, she told us, she saw the man near the railing on the north side of the span. She was one of a number of people, apparently, who called 911 to report the incident.
Officers got a call at about 9:30 a.m. on reports of a possibly suicidal man standing on the westbound side of the new Bay Bridge. An officer was on the eastbound portion of the bridge when the call came in. Knowing he didn't have much time to get there, the officer parked his patrol car in the center divide, jumped the concrete platform, and ran through several lanes of traffic to the shoulder where the man was, attempting to stop him from jumping, says Officer Mike Ferguson.
"As soon as he saw the officer, he turned and jumped," Ferguson tells us.
Seven minutes had passed from the time (the) call came in to when the man jumped.
A CHP boat conducting routine patrols was about a minute away from the incident; officers in the boat pulled the man from the water and attempted to resuscitate him. The man was pronounced dead at the scene.
"He died as a result of the fall," Ferguson confirms.
The San Francisco Chronicle is reporting that the death is the first suicide from the new span, which opened last Labor Day. One other person is known to have jumped from the bridge, the paper reports — a woman who survived the fall with severe injuries.
Wednesday's apparent suicide comes after recent action to approve funding for a suicide-prevention net on the Golden Gate Bridge. More than 1,600 people are known to have committed suicide by jumping from that span since it opened in 1937.