April 7, 2021 1.04 pm This story is over 36 months old

‘Footpath closure not the answer’: Father of tragic Humber Bridge death victim

“Something needs to be done to stop it”

By Local Democracy Reporter

The father of a young man who lost his life at the Humber Bridge said more needs to be done to prevent suicides in the area, but closing the footpath is not the answer.

The Humber Bridge Board closed the public footpath indefinitely on Monday, after a string of six deaths in just one month at the bridge.

Despite spending £250,000 every single year on suicide prevention, it’s been estimated that over 200 people have died from either jumping or falling off the Humber Bridge since it opened in 1981.

During the closure, traffic cones and signage have been put up either side of the footpath entrance, and security guards are patrolling the area to make sure nobody goes on it.

The Humber Bridge Board called the influx of incidents “deeply troubling” but defended its decision to close the paths.

The Humber Bridge footpath could yet open to commuters, though. | Photo: James Williams

A bridge spokesperson said: “Closing the footways is the most immediate and effective way to prevent further incidents of this nature and this was our sole consideration when making the decision.”

Many have spoken in opposition of the call to close the footpaths, including Ian Conlin, whose son Sam is believed to have taken his own life at the bridge in 2018.

He told BBC Look North that the Humber Bridge Board need to “definitely do something about their security, because it’s not adequate, and what’s happening proves this time and time again.

“If you were in the situation of parents like me and families like me, you would do something about it regardless of the cost.

“Think of the cost of suffering that people like me are going through, this is a life sentence for us, so something needs to be done to stop it.”

The footpaths along the side of the Humber Bridge have been closed indefinitely. | Photo: Glyn Drury / Geograph

The comment section of The Lincolnite‘s story also saw opposition to the closures, with many saying closing the path will not help the bigger issue.

Tracy Swinburn said: “Closing the footpath won’t help, higher railings won’t help, may give them a chance to rethink but if they really feel they can’t go on they will find another way.”

Myrtle Chuffnell agreed, commenting: “It’s not the footpath that is the issue. It’s the soaring levels of mental illness and resulting suicides. That cannot be addressed by closing the footpath.”

It is still unclear when the footpath could be opened back up, though the board are considering allowing commuters to use the paths to get to work.

A petition with over 9,000 signatures demanded action at the bridge, such as more safety measures to prevent suicides as much as possible.

If you’ve been affected by the incidents in this story, there is always someone to talk to. You can contact the Samaritans on 116 123 from any phone for a confidential chat.