Man talked out of bridge suicide leap

A YOUNG man threatening to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge over the busy A14 was today safe after brave police officers talked him down.The dual carriageway was brought to a standstill during the early-morning drama and there were long tailbacks of lorries and cars as officers closed the road to deal with the situation.

Richard Cornwell

A YOUNG man threatening to commit suicide by jumping from a bridge over the busy A14 was today safe after brave police officers talked him down.

The dual carriageway was brought to a standstill during the early-morning drama and there were long tailbacks of lorries and cars as officers closed the road to deal with the situation.

Police today praised the public for their help and alerting them so quickly to help avoid what would have been an horrific incident had the man jumped or fallen.

Officers were called to Walton High Road, Felixstowe, at 5.25am by residents concerned the man was going to throw himself off the road bridge near the stables on to the traffic on the A14 Port of Felixstowe Road below.

He was on the wrong side of the railings, having climbed over the barriers.

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When officers arrived, a group of people were talking to him, trying to persuade him to climb back and seek help.

The police then took over, gently talking to the man, who moved along the bridge to standing directly over the central reservation beneath him. An ambulance was standing by.

After half an hour of negotiation and persuasion, the man agreed not to jump and officers managed to grab him and take him into custody.

A police spokeswoman said the man - whose name and age have not been released - had been sectioned under the Mental Health Act and taken to St Clement's Hospital in Ipswich.

The incident had ended at about 6.05am and the A14 was completely open again and running normally, after the backlog between dock spur and the Trimleys had been cleared, by about 6.15am.

High Road was also reopened once the man had been taken to hospital.

A police spokeswoman thanked the public for their help.

She said: “It was good work by everyone - the police officers involved and also the members of the public who alerted us so quickly so we could get there and deal with the situation.

“These are always sensitive situations and there are many reasons people get into these circumstances. Thankfully, this one was resolved and the man is now safe.”

The bridge over the A14 has been the scene of several similar incidents.

In one a man fell and survived but was left wheelchair bound.

Last year fourteen-year-old Orwell High students Matthew Tortice, Tyler Hunter Mahon and Tom Sheeran received a Royal Humane Society award - after being nominated by The Evening Star - for pulling a father-of-two back from the wrong side of the bridge barrier four times while they waited for police officers to reach the scene.

Did you see today's drama? Do you know the man involved? Write to Your Letters, Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN, or e-mail eveningstarletters

@eveningstar.co.uk

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