Trucker prevents bridge suicide

By SAPA Time of article published Oct 11, 2012

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Johannesburg - A truck driver spent more than an hour convincing a suicidal man not to jump off a bridge, the Times reported on Thursday.

Truck driver Harry Vermaak, 54, was on the N2 towards Plettenberg Bay at 2am when he spotted a Mazda parked on the emergency lane of Van Staden River bridge.

“A very pale man got out; I realised he was going to jump.”

Vermaak said they spoke about “different things”. He discovered that the man had two children when the man produced a letter and told him to hand it over to his children.

The man's cellphone rang and he handed it to Vermaak. It was the man's daughter.

Vermaak said the daughter started crying when he told her that her father was trying to jump off a bridge.

“She then put her mother on the phone, but the man started walking [away].”

Vermaak grabbed his arm and called the police. Vermaak offered to drive the man to the police station himself.

He then called the man's family to fetch him from Thornhill police station.

A few hours earlier, Wayne Wewege, 28, of Port Alfred, had jumped off the same bridge - becoming the 85th suicide since the bridge opened in 1971 and the fourth this year.


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