At 9.40am on Saturday morning, the Bandra Worli sea link entered the dubious list of suicide spots when a middle-aged man walked onto the pedestrians-barred bridge and jumped off it.
But that the incident occurred barely a few hours before US president Barack Obama’s visit, when the security cover was supposed have been the tightest, has brought bigger infamy to the city’s defence apparatus.
The man was first noticed by the traffic policemen through the CCTV cameras installed on the bridge, which is a no-entry zone for the pedestrians, bikers and autorickshaws. According to police, a person aged between 30 and 35, who was wearing jeans and had his shirt tied around his waist, managed to get onto the sea link and jumped off.
“He was noticed by traffic police constables Gavali and Bharat Kamble, who were monitoring the CCTV cameras installed at the entrance of the sea link. They alerted the staff and police standing at the entrance of the sea link, who asked him to stop, but he ran towards the bridge and jumped off,” said a police officer from the Bandra police station.
“The constables also noticed in the footage that the person was carrying something in his hand which they found suspicious, but before they could catch him, he threw it into the sea, before jumping,” said another police officer. Though the body was fished out the next day, the object has not been recovered yet.
“The incident was reported to the police control room from where the Bandra and Worli police were informed. As the person was at a distance from the CCTV cameras, and also due to bad weather, the images are not very clear,” said police officer.
“There is a possibility that it was planned act, and that the person got onto the sea link by a taxi,” said another officer. The police are, however, yet to question any vehicle owner in connection with the incident.
“A case of accidental death has been registered, but the body is still unidentified. It was found at Dadar Chowpatty, so further investigation is being done by the Shivaji Park Police station,” said senior police inspector Prakash George of the Bandra police station.
Jayant Mhaiskar, managing director of the Mumbai Entry Point Ltd (MEPL), the agency responsible for toll collection at the sea link, said the man was first spotted by his staff who monitor the link through six CCTV cameras throughout the day.
“Our staff alerted the policemen on duty, who ran to catch him, but he jumped before they could reach him,” Mhaiskar told DNA.