7th APRIL 2015 - Vol.XXXVIII No.018
Local News

Plea to fence 'suicide bridge'

COUNCILLORS are demanding that Manama's "suicide bridge" be fenced, to stop people jumping into traffic on the multi-lane highway below. The call from Manama Municipal Council follows the second suicide in three months from footbridge over the King Faisal Highway, near the Inter Continental Regency Bahrain.

Indian painter Ashokan Vamoora plunged to his death from the bridge on Sunday.

The 41-year-old father was killed instantly when he was run over by a car as he hit the ground.

In January, Indian salesman Hamza Maheen, aged 47, leaped to his death from the same bridge. He smashed feet-first through the windscreen of an oncoming car, injuring and severely traumatising the Bahraini couple inside.

The council sent a letter yesterday to the Works and Housing Ministry, which owns the bridge, demanding that it be fenced with high railings, said councillor Sadiq Rahma.

"We have taken very serious view of the incidents of suicide from the pedestrian crossing and wish to put an end to them," Mr Rahma told the GDN. "We had thought that the first incident in January had been one-off but are alarmed now that another incident has taken place. It is being assumed it is an easy way to die for people with suicidal tendencies. This is bad for the community."

He said the council had also suggested to the ministry round-the-clock security at the bridge.

The bridge has become a "blackspot", said Mr Rahma.

"People are already talking about it as a suicide point. That is not good. It gives our country a bad impression."

Several police officers at the scene on Sunday told the GDN they would recommend the bridge be either fenced, covered, or closed, so that it could no longer be used by the public.

"The latter is not a practical suggestion, because it does serve hundreds of people," said one officer. "The better thing to do would be to cover it in a way that it would become impossible for anyone to climb over the edge."

Another police officer said another suggestion was to put spikes on the railings. "That would be a deterrent."

Salmaniya Medical Complex head of ambulance and paramedic services Abdul Hadi said it was, yet again, sheer good fortune that no-one else was killed or hurt in the latest incident.

There was a great risk of a major pile-up, because of the volume of high-speed traffic, he said. "When the first incident took place, we dispatched three ambulances to the scene, fearing a disaster. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries," said Mr Hadi, adding that this time only luck averted a major disaster.

"We prepared for the worst but nothing happened. This may not be the case the next time," said Mr Hadi.

Bahrain Health and Safety Society Technical Committee head Yasser Rahim, reiterated yesterday there hds to be a serious re-think on the design of such bridges. "This incident was waiting to happen. People suddenly have another place from where they can kill themselves," he said.

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