Aurora Bridge Needs Its Own Guardian Angel

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Since opening in 1932, 230 people have jumped to their deaths off of the Aurora Bridge, the span that connects Queen Anne and Fremont. The state is currently retrofitting the bridge with a nine foot suicide prevention fence that will obstruct views for drivers and, more importantly, give jumpers an extra obstacle to overcome. Maybe the bridge could use a guardian angel too.

In Nanjing, China, a gruff, motorbike-driving man named Mr. Chen Si documents his experience trying to keep jumpers from leaping off the Yangtze River Bridge. Mr. Si isn't the most orthodox guardian angel; he occasionally uses threats of violence to keep distraught Chinese from using his bridge to end their lives. But his tactics work: in six years he estimates he's "saved" 174 people.

In Sydney, 84-year-old Don Ritchie acts as the guardian angel for "The Gap," a rocky cliff known as Australia's most notorious suicide spot. The retired life insurance salesman has a more avuncular approach than Mr. Si.

The minute he wakes up Ritchie goes to his window and scans The Gap. If he sees anyone standing too close to the edge he'll go out and ask them if they'd like to go back to his place for a spot of tea.

Ritchie has lived across the street from The Gap for nearly 50 years. On his estimation, in that time he's kept roughly 160 people from jumping. An achievement that earned him Australia's Medal of the Order, one of its highest civilian honors.

"You can't just sit there and watch them," Ritchie told the AP. "You gotta try and save them. It's pretty simple."

 
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