Friday, January 02, 2009
January 02, 2009
By Gemma Jones
The Daily Telegraph (Sydney, Australia)
THE wife and children of a man who jumped to his death off a bridge on the F3 had to be coaxed by police off the outer railing after he leaped.
Police officers following the Cabramatta family's car on the Brooklyn Bridge probably prevented a murder-suicide on New Year's Eve by talking the woman and two children down from the bridge's edge.
Officers were too late to save their husband and father, whose body has still not been found.
It was unclear if the children had been coerced by their father to follow him over the 20m drop to almost certain death about 9.30am on Wednesday.
Police are investigating whether the children may have been drugged before their father drove them - extremely slowly - north along the F3 to the bridge.
"Two officers acted quickly to grab a 39-year-old woman as she also climbed to the outside railing and drag her back to safety,'' a police spokeswoman said yesterday.
"Police also intercepted a girl aged 9 and boy aged 7 as they too climbed the bridge railing.''
Superintendent Peter Marcon praised the officers for preventing a bigger tragedy and for their quick thinking in securing a boat to begin a search for the man.
"The officers acted quickly to avert a far more serious situation on the bridge, then were in a boat searching for the missing man only minutes after he jumped,'' he said.
"The officers involved will be commended for their actions.''
The mother and children, who are believed to be from Cambodia, were treated at Hornsby Hospital.
Police needed interpreters to speak with the mother.
Authorities will resume a search of the Hawkesbury River today.
An underwater search was called off at 10.30am yesterday because of strong currents, while Polair and State Emergency Service personnel continued searching for an hour.
"We do not hold out much chance for his survival,'' Inspector Steve Martlew said.