Unidentified person jumps off bridge

An unidentified person jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge on Wednesday afternoon, just two weeks after a controversial documentary film chronicling a year’s worth of suicides from the San Francisco landmark had its West Coast premiere.

An anonymous witness walking along the bridge observed the jump, at approximately 12:45 p.m., and called the Golden Gate Bridge Sergeants Office, according to U.S. Coast Guard officials. The witness was not able to identify the gender of the jumper.

Although a Coast Guard Search and Rescue unit was initially sent out, the body was not recovered by late afternoon and the search was discontinued, according to Operations Controller Hecken Dorn, who said a person would have a slim chance of survival in the chilly waters after three hours. “And that’s for a person who didn’t jump off the top of the bridge,” Dorn said.

Mary Currie, a spokeswoman for the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, said the agency policy is not to comment on individual suicides to the media, due to concerns about encouraging copycat jumpers.

Currie did say that after the recent release of the documentary, “The Bridge,” by Eric Steel, that security patrols on the bridge had been beefed up in expectation that the film would encourage someone else to take their life by leaping over the four-and-a-half-foot railing.

“Unfortunately, we were not successful today, we did not stop a person from taking their life,” Currie said Wednesday.

Although discussion about adding a suicide barrier along the bridge has been ongoing for years, in recent months the Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District has moved forward with plans to study the effects and feasibility of such a deterrent. At the end of April, a final funding piece was secured for the $2 million study. The bridge agency will begin soliciting bids for the project from consultants as early as the end of next week, Currie said.

beslinger@examiner.com

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