SHOUT OUT: Riding his bicycle home from work in Manhattan as he always does, Benjamin Storch of Haworth spotted a troubled man at the railing on the George Washington Bridge’s south walkway Tuesday night.
“He was trying to climb up over the side,” said Storch ( inset, above ), a capital planning insurance advisor who’s been riding his bike to work since last summer. “He grabbed one of the cables and was pulling himself up.”
Storch could see powder around the 67-year-old Union City man’s mouth. He’d swallowed a handful of pills.
“I pulled over and grabbed him and started yelling for help,” he told CLIFFVIEW PILOT .
“I grabbed one of his arms,” said Storch, 38. “He still kept trying to pull himself over….Then I saw another bicyclist headed in the other direction. I yelled at him to call 911.
“Another guy who was walking by ran over and helped me grab his other arm. We held him there until the police arrived.”
Storch is originally from the Bay Area in California, the site of one of the world’s most popular destinations for suicide, the Golden Gate Bridge.
He hadn’t realized how many people jump from the GWB’s 212-foot-high span, he said, until he was riding to work last month, saw police activity and discovered that someone had plunged into the Hudson.
So Storch Googled it — and was surprised at the results.
Nine reported jumpers have committed suicide from the span this year. Countless others have been stopped.
There were 15 confirmed suicides last year, with 49 saves — formally known as “interventions,” the authority’s Joseph Pentangelo said.
That came after what is considered a recent GWB record, 18 suicides, that were recorded in 2012 — more than all of the other Hudson and East River crossings combined. This followed a decade that saw six, on average, per year ( SEE: GWB a ‘suicide magnet’? ) .
An ambulance took the man Tuesday night to Columbia Presbyterian Medical Center for a medical and psychological evaluation, Pentangelo said.
Storch, meanwhile, calmed another person that night — his wife.
“She was worried about me,” he said. “But I was fine.”