Murder-suicide suspicion ... police are still investigating the incident were a man jumped from the Hawkesbury River Bridge yesterday. (Photograph: Gary Graham)
January 01, 2009
By Kara Lawrence and Brooke Newstead
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)
A DRIVER who leapt from the Hawkesbury River Bridge in front of a woman passenger and two children yesterday may have been planning a murder-suicide.
Police are investigating whether the children may have been drugged when the man ran from his car and jumped after he spotted police.
A woman passenger in the car also climbed the railing but was rescued by police. There is no suggestion the woman was involved in any plot to kill the children.
Police driving along the F3 became stuck in a line of traffic caused by the car as it was driven slowly towards the bridge about 9.30am.
As they followed, the car slowed to a stop and the male Asian driver, 40, from Cabramatta, left the car and jumped off the bridge.
His 43-year-old female Asian passenger also climbed the railing and there were fears she too would jump. She was taken to be interviewed by police, along with the boy and girl, aged between 10 and 12, who had remained in the back seat of the car when the man jumped.
A critical incident investigation team will be set up to decide whether officers averted a potential murder-suicide. A search failed to find the man's body yesterday. Superintendent Shane White said the man was last seen floating west.
"We have an interpreter assisting us with our conversations with the woman,'' Superintendent White said.
She and the two children were taken by police to Hornsby police station, where they remained until about 3pm. They emerged looking distressed, the two children clutching teddy bears, as all three were led by a paramedic to a waiting ambulance.
The three were taken to Hornsby Hospital for treatment. An RTA Traffic Emergency Patrol officer drove the man's car to a nearby boat-ramp car park.
The car, containing rubbish and bags of clothing in the boot, was then towed to a holding yard in Hornsby for forensic investigation. Police and emergency services launched a search for the man, but failed to find him.
"The search has been by foot, by water and by air,'' Supt White said.
Police were aided by a NSW Ambulance helicopter and boat, Coastal Patrol boats, and State Emergency Services boats.
"The matter is subject to a police investigation. Whether it is a matter for the coroner is yet to be confirmed,'' Supt White said.
The search for the man will resume at 6.30am today. Police are appealing for anyone who may have seen the car as it travelled north on the bridge or who have relevant information to contact Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.