Earlier this week, a suicidal 19-year-old was talked down from near the top of the George Washington Bridge's cables. Now it turns out that the GW Bridge guard was watching TV and didn't notice the man walk by his booth. Which is why the guard was fired and why the Port Authority is debating whether to use the same security company at JFK Airport.
The Daily News has details of the suicide attempt and rescue: Apparently a College of NJ student "took a half-dozen Percocets and drove to the bridge." He passed the guard booth—where the guard didn't notice him—"walked past the guard, climbed over the barbed wire up toward the cables and sat there for about 10 minutes." Then the teen decided to climb to the top (because he wanted to jump over the water), where "he called his roommate at the College of New Jersey and said he was depressed and might jump. He was struggling with classes and reeling from a breakup." Luckily, the roommate "kept him on the phone and called his own father, a state police sergeant. The dad alerted Port Authority police and helped direct its emergency services team to the teen's perch."
The teen was rescued and taken to the hospital; the guard was immediately fired. FJC Security Services says they may add lights and cameras to prevent similar attempts, while a Port Authority source says, "This time it was some poor messed up kid, but we were lucky. The GWB would be a crown jewel for some terrorist. We can't bank on luck." This isn't the first time GW Bridge guards have been less than observant on the job.
The bridge has been attractive to jumpers; in recent months, a chef committed suicide from the bridge and Rutgers student Tyler Clementi also jumped to his death.