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Monday, August 6, 2012

City’s pride turning into suicide zone? Bike patrols, lifeguards on Sea Link duty after second suicide in 6 days

MSRDC decides against putting up nets on both sides as it would spoil the 5.6-km long bridge's aesthetics

An unidentified man jumped to his death from the Bandra-Worli Sea Link on Monday afternoon, adding to the city's newest landmark's growing notoriety as a suicide spot. 
    The man, described as a lean 25 to 30-year-old by a security supervisor who tried to stop him, became the second in six days and third in three years to jump off the Sea Link to commit suicide. 

    In November 2010, sixteen months after the 5.6-km bridge was thrown open to public, a 23-year-old unidentified man had ended his life by jumping off it. Last week, Raj Travels founder Lalit Sheth, who had suffered huge losses in business, committed suicide leaping into the sea from the Sea Link. 
    In October 2011, a woman had attempted suicide here but was saved by some fishermen who saw her jumping into the sea. 
Alarmed by the spate of suicides, the Maharashtra State Road Development Corporation, the state agency that owns and operates the Sea Link, has decided to deploy motorbike-borne marshals and life guards to police the bridge. Currently, the Sea Link's security is handled by a few private security guards and policemen. 
    Top MSRDC officials met at their Bandra office just hours after Monday's suicide to discuss fresh security measures. "We will do everything we can to prevent suicides. We have decided to deploy professional lifeguards and marshals on mobikes to prevent suicides here," MSRDC's joint-managing director A V Deodhar said. 
    On Monday, security supervisor Kamlakar Warekar spotted the man entering the Sea Link through a gap between the rocky sea bed and the incomplete arm of the bridge at the Worli end at around 3 pm. 
When the security supervisor called out to him, the man started running towards the Bandra end and jumped into the sea when the former tried to flag down a car to chase him. 
    A security guard, who was following Warekar, jumped into the sea to save the man but was thwarted by rough waves. 
    While the deceased's body washed ashore a couple of hours later and was moved to JJ Hospital for post-mortem, the injured security guard has been admitted to Poddar 
Hospital in Worli. 
    Deodhar said the MSRDC is consulting contractors to not only install more cameras on the bridge, but also maintain the existing network. No footage of last week's suicide by Ral Travel's boss could be captured as only three cameras were working. The MSRDC considered putting up nets on both sides, but decided against it as it would spoil the bridge's aesthetics.

Security supervisor Kamlakar Warekar points to spot from where the unidentified man jumped off

Cops keep a watch on the Bandra Worli Sea Link after a man jumped off on Monday


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