An unidentified man jumped to his death this morning from the San Francisco Bay Bridge, police said.
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 to 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 incident happened less than a month after authorities approved funding for the controversial suicide barriers along the Golden Gate Bridge. Ferguson didn't have statistics on how many suicides occur every year along the Bay Bridge, but noted that the calls come in way too often.
"We experience some of the same problems here for the Bay Bridge, obviously this is foremost in our mind," he says.
The officer who responded to the call this morning is the same cop who attempted to talk down another jumper from the Bay Bridge in early January. The unidentified woman leaped from the bridge, but was pulled from the water and survived with serious injuries.
Ferguson says officers take these incidents very personally. "CHP is committed to saving lives," he says. He added that anyone experiencing a crisis or feeling suicidal should contact the National Suicide Prevention hotline at 1800 273 TALK (8255). Furthermore, if you know someone who might be in a crisis, call 911 -- don't hesitate.