Plans to stop people using one of world’s most deadly suicide spots for their last goodbye include huge nets to preserve lives. One of America’s most magnificent and recognisable landmarks is expected to be subject to new measures aimed at shaking off its least welcome superlative – most lethal.
Operators of the Golden Gate Bridge spanning San Francisco Bay are close to agreeing on plans for better structures to prevent suicides after what is understood to have been its deadliest year.
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Suicides are not officially counted but 46 people are known to have jumped to their deaths from the 425-foot high span last year, making a total of at least 1,500 since the bridge opened in 1937.
It is the second most common suicide spot in the world after the Nanjing Yangtze River Bridge in China, which has seen more than 2,000 people kill themselves by jumping since it opened in 1968.
Now the various authorities in charge of the Golden Gate Bridge are close to agreeing a $66 million (£41m) project to alter the railings and fix huge nets under the public walkway and cycle path.
Suicides occur occasionally at the Empire State Building in New York, which has fences well above head height on the outdoor observation deck, and from other skyscrapers or drops such as the Grand Canyon – but the bridge is by far America’s top suicide site.
The steel bridge is famous for its distinctive orange-vermillion hue, with the tops of its towers often the only portion visible above San Francisco’s notorious, billowing sea fog.