A Suffolk MP has today made clear the need for extra safety measures to be installed on the Orwell Bridge as it was confirmed a man had died after falling from the structure this week – the 40th fatality since the bridge opened.

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Coastguard teams and a rescue helicopter were sent to the scene, near Ipswich, at about 11.30am on Tuesday after a police officer and a motorist reported seeing a man climbing on to the parapet before “going out of view”.

The man’s body was located by the Holbrook coastguard team and was airlifted to hospital, but it is understood he was pronounced dead on the scene.

The tragedy has once again brought up the question of what more can be done to prevent similar incidents and protect vulnerable people.

Therese Coffey, MP for Suffolk Coastal, said that this particular issue was raised at the Orwell Bridge Summit, which she organised along with Ipswich MP Ben Gummer.

She added: “It is important that we seek best practice from other crossings like the Clifton Suspension Bridge.

“This may involve anti-climb barriers, CCTV or sensors that trigger an alarm. I am writing a joint letter with Ben Gummer to the Highways Agency to see what can be done.”

The bridge was first opened in 1982 and its walls are 1.25metres high, which is deemed sufficient to prevent people accidentally falling.

Samaritan phones are also provided on approaches to the bridge for people in need of confidential emotional support.

Two people have died this year after falling off the bridge but police have been called at least five times after it has been reported seeing people on the parapet.

Deaths from the structure have always provoked emotion and divided opinion on whether or not more security measures need to be put in place.

In a comment to this newspaper, one reader wrote: “At some point something needs to be done about this.”

But another added: “You cannot clothe the world in cotton wool.”

Suffolk police confirmed the death yesterday although they said no formal identification had yet taken place.

A spokeswoman for the constabulary said: “The matter will now be referred to the coroner and no further details will be released.”

The Highways Agency was not able to provide a comment on the incident or the letter being written by Dr Coffey and Mr Gummer.

If you need help, call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90. All calls are confidential.

20 comments

  • Can you please stop saying " fell of the bridge " these people have not fallen off the bridge they have jumped, fallen is an accident, jumped is meaningful, they climb on to the parapet and jump off, they are not just wandering across the bridge and just happen to fall off, it doesnt need safety measures, people do and will come from miles away to jump, just like beachy head etc, get a grip.

    Report this comment

    fireballxl10

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • Modern Day Slave - agreed. Although perhaps there are better options than this - especially considering the resources needed to attend after an incident. Plus the affect it can have on others who may witness any incidents themselves.

    Report this comment

    ipswichLAD

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • something needs to be done??? if someone is going to do it they will do it regardless where it is. if they cant jump off the bridge they will find somewhere else that's higher or in front of moving traffic. one way to improve is to improve quality of life people are struggling bills and life in general. another way is to actually get rid of a foot path on the bridge why would you have a footpath there any ways. take away the footpath and make it non accessible, but then back to the comments below other ways will be found. lets get to the real world here..... he jumped he didn't fall. jumped. you don't climb up on that wall just to look at the view!!! a fence and signs wow that will really stop someone wanting to take their own life. A lame health and safety sign wont stop it.

    Report this comment

    dominic miaoulis

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Well said!

    Report this comment

    ME

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • People should just get on with their own lives and leave others to live or end theirs, There aren't many choices that one is free to make in this world, so if someone wants to end it for pities sake just let them at least be allowed to make that choice for themselves.

    Report this comment

    Modern day slave

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Adding safety measures is pointless IMO. If someone is determined to end their life then they will simply find another way. Realistically, how high would a fence or other measures need to be to make it effective?

    Report this comment

    vumad

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • ...Not that I am agreeing that further preventative measures are required.

    Report this comment

    ipswichLAD

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Why my last comment didn't make it here is beyond me!!! Ipswich entrepreneur - it's the people that are running this country that are trying to dissolve its foundations. We all pay them obscene amounts of taxes so I guess we're all hypocrites right?

    Report this comment

    Modern day slave

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Instead of investing tons of money in constructing physical barriers wouldn't it make more sense to spend it on services that would help prevent the situations people find themselves getting to much for them to bear?

    Report this comment

    Scuzzer

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • I think that the path should go, good idea.

    Report this comment

    Lee Davies

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • well said Ipswich Entrepreneur!

    Report this comment

    ME

    Saturday, April 5, 2014

  • What about the people who have to witness it or literally have to pick up the pieces....sometimes risking their lives to do so?

    Report this comment

    miss piggy

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • I am always intrigued how the Star allows posting pro-suicide comments yet hates minor criticisms regarding people such as Paul Mason. Anyhow, it has always baffled me how the average member of the general public thinks suicide is "selfish" yet at the same time think that acting as in such a way to isolate people from society and to destroy someones life that they cannot stand it any more is not "selfish". There is so much small mindedness around - I am fairly confident that most people who jump (off a bridge, in front of a train etc.) would have regret it the next day, if they had that option. Largely, its a concept (perhaps thought about regarding depression) plus a spur of the moment thing. These people are vulnerable and the humane thing to do is to prevent them taking their lives by making silly short decisions that they cannot change in a few minutes time. Its the whole fundamental principles of the NHS, social services and welfare state etc. - the Tories (and even Labour) have been chiselling away at these services overtime but its what being British is all about. Looking after those who aren't capable for one reason or another, either directly (carer, Samaritans etc) or indirectly (taxes, charity). Anyone who really wants to dissolve the foundations of our society should simply leave the country and not come back. You wont be missed. You have that choice too. Why pay in taxes to something you don't believe in? Hypocrite?

    Report this comment

    Ipswich Entrepreneur

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Suicide is never a simple or rational decision and that is exactly why it shouldn't be as easy as it is from the Bridge. Whilst 40 deaths in 30 years may not seem alot to many people, this figure doesn't include failed attempts. In fact the result of these Inquests, more often than not, are "open verdicts" because it can't be proven that the person wanted to end their life.

    Report this comment

    ME

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • Safety measures ! What to stop someone jumping off the bridge on purpose , they didn't just fall off they intended to do it.Look at the results of the Inquests into the deaths to get the answers to why they all did it . If its 40 , its 40 too many but its hardly 2 a year is it ?

    Report this comment

    Poppys Dad

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • People are going to find other ways to commit suicide if they feel strongly enough to launch themselves to a very painful death. I disagree with cutting off the footpath from a photographers point of view - I haven't done it yet but one day soon I'd love to walk across it and take photographs from that view. People that determined will still go up there regardless of the footpath being closed. What we need is a much better support system for people with mental health issues and for less day to day stress. Crazy to think we're supposedly the smarter species, but I don't see other animals trapping themselves into a life where they're this distressed.

    Report this comment

    emi7

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • i agree with [modern day slave ] no safety measures will stop this.

    Report this comment

    TERENCE MANNING

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • I believe that the stars censor uses a dartboard to decide what gets in, odd for yes even for no!

    Report this comment

    Lee Davies

    Thursday, April 3, 2014

  • People are going to find other ways to commit suicide if they feel strongly enough to launch themselves to a very painful death. I disagree with cutting off the footpath from a photographers point of view - I haven't done it yet but one day soon I'd love to walk across it and take photographs from that view. People that determined will still go up there regardless of the footpath being closed. What we need is a much better support system for people with mental health issues and for less day to day stress. Crazy to think we're supposedly the smarter species, but I don't see other animals trapping themselves into a life where they're this distressed.

    Report this comment

    emi7

    Friday, April 4, 2014

  • I don't believe that by leaving the bridge how it is will help towards the situation, and quite frankly whoever thinks leaving it and spending the money on mental health services are quite delirious. These people do not want to speak to anybody. They are in such a dark place and absolutely nobody other than themselves are able to understand that or even try to. Unless you have personally been in that position then you are useless in even trying to understand. I always say you should always be able to talk to somebody but realistically this is the sad truth. I agree with the comment below of probably regretting it the day after. This bridge is the quickest and easiest way to end a life and if adding precautions to stop jumpers means it will add a little more hope and time to their lives then so bloody be it. That extra day could be enough time for somebody to see the light and think what a stupid decision I nearly made. Who cares if the money is spent on this I would rather it go on this than to those particular people who spend our tax money on booze and cigs!!

    Report this comment

    jt995

    Monday, April 7, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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