Tuesday, May 20, 2008 | I just read Randy Dotinga’s article regarding suicides off the Coronado Bridge because on Thursday May 15, my husband and I took my grandson on a San Diego bay cruise through Harbour Excursions.
We had passed the bridge on our way back when the guide announced we were stopping for some cryptic reason that seemed to involve vessel responsibility of some sort and he asked for our patience. I assumed some military vessel must be approaching or getting underway but a quick survey revealed nothing obvious. My husband then pointed up and following his direction I realized the westbound traffic had stopped on the bridge.
Herding my grandson to the furthest distance from the bridge — the boat was gradually spinning in place so this took constant maneuvering — my husband eventually signaled the jump had already occurred and the poor person was in the water. I then realized I could see what appeared to be clothes floating about 100 yards away.
The boat remained in position — the crew occasionally apologizing and reporting its responsibility to remain without elaborating as did another tour boat much closer, until the sheriff finally arrived possibly 10 minutes or so later.
My grandson, with the instincts of a 5 year old, definitely knew something was up, something bad, even though I blathered on about every seagull, boat, helicopter, building or driftwood I could see. I had a knot in my stomach but as we spent the entire day with our grandson, my husband and I couldn’t talk it through until late that night. But it kept striking me what an absolutely gorgeous day it was with a setting so stunningly beautiful, how when we are depressed we miss the obvious. I don’t know who that person was but my heart bleeds for them and those who are left behind.
I never saw anyone attempt a rescue so I assume our presence was to secure the area until authorities arrived, but what a sad and meaningless vigil. I’m sure you realize I am merely purging here to someone who may have a sympathetic ear, but I am stunned.
What if this person landed on one of these boats? Unlikely but surely possible, someone in that state of mind is clearly not thinking safety. The barriers may have a greater purpose than just preventing suicide but also creating a sense of safety for those under the bridge. I tell you I will never look at that bridge the same way again. Thanks for you time and article.
Editor’s note: A 50-year-old man from Clairemont leaped to his death from the Coronado Bridge on May 15 and his body was later recovered, according to the San Diego County Medical Examiner’s office. He was the fourth person to commit suicide from the bridge this year.