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Suicidal man on Waterloo Bridge

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Saturday 21 March 2009 9.53pm
Did anyone see the suicidal guy on Waterloo Bridge earlier??

The whole bridge was closed off from about 5.15pm.

In fact, it was me who called the police.

Really dramatic stuff. Here are some photos I managed to take -

[direct link to forum thread removed by JH]
Saturday 21 March 2009 10.25pm
Glad you called the police.

I feel really uncomfortable looking at your pics, though I did look. I keep thinking how I'd feel if I saw someone taking photos of me in that state. It just feels terrible. I know that's not your intention and maybe its just me.
Saturday 21 March 2009 10.29pm
Good for you WJ.

Those pics are really dramatic - just a shame they are in such sad circumstances.

I hope the fella get's the help he needs.
Saturday 21 March 2009 10.55pm
beetroot - you're quite right. This sort of thing is very difficult, and photography isn't really 'the done thing' IMO.

See these recommendations for journalists reporting on attempted suicide. There's a good reason those sorts of images are never published in mainstream news.

These incidents are very common on the Thames bridges, sadly.

There was a very good documentary last year about the work of the river police which explained how they handle these incidents.

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Sunday 22 March 2009 12.25am
Well done for calling the police, wj, but not for the pics. Something of an invasion, even though it was in public.

I also never understand why London Underground broadcast 'Delays due to a person under a train' - insensitive is an understatement.
Sunday 22 March 2009 12.34am
I'm not clicking on the photos. I can't imagine why people would think that taking snap shots of me if I were in such an extreme state would be the right thing to do, let alone publish them.
Sunday 22 March 2009 8.45am
I have no problem with the photos. It's not as if there was a baying crowd shouting at him to jump ( which it appears he didn't anyway).
There was an excellent documentary, I think on Channel4, last year about a year of suicides off the Golden Gate Bridge which identified the people and also interviewed the friends and family left behind which gave a real insight in to the affect on them.
And we did see footage of people jumping from the Twin Towers.
A picture is worth a thousand words.
And journalists only follow recommendations when it suits them.
Sunday 22 March 2009 10.52am
I agree the photos are innocuous - it's not as though wjfox was happily snapping away while someone killed himself - the reverse - he did the right thing and called the police. And from the photos he seems to have been fairly far away. Main thing is, the police got there and apparently talked the guy out of it. Top marks wjfox.
Sunday 22 March 2009 11.43am
phoney wrote:
I have no problem with the photos.

Well, that's good for you. What of the person being photographed?
Sunday 22 March 2009 1.45pm
I would always call 999 in any situation like this.

Back in 1983, as a teenage art lover on my way to the Hayward, I nearly walked into a clearly "mentally disturbed" man pacing around David Mach's Polaris sculpture on the South Bank walkways - a submarine made of used car tyres.

I hurriedly "passed by on the other side".

A few hours later he suffered fatal burns after he set the sculpture ablaze wuth some sort of accelerant.

Although this tragic event has generally been regarded as arson - a horribly misjudged form of art criticism/political protest, I continue to wonder whether there was a suicidal element.
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