Death of Netflix engineer raises questions about Golden Gate Bridge safety net

(KRON) — According to the Bridge District, an average of 30 people or more die from suicide at the Golden Gate Bridge a year. This week, the death of a missing Netflix engineer was ruled a suicide after his body was found northeast of the bridge. 

A physical barrier to stop people from harming themselves has been under construction for the past few years. The net is 80 percent complete and on track to finish the project around the end of this year.

Director of Public Affairs at Golden Gate Bridge, Highway and Transportation District, Paolo Cosulich-Schwartz explains the Golden Gate Bridge district crew is now working to install netting on the south end of the bridge.

“We have netting installed on the east and west sides of the bridge between the two towers at the north approach viaduct,” said Cosulich-Schwartz.

With progress after delays in construction over the years and in recent weeks, contractors replaced fencing after someone got hurt.

“There were some sections of fencing on the Golden Gate Bridge on the west side that are maintained by the contractor building the suicide barrier. There was an incident in early August, where a piece of fencing came loose and struck a bicyclist. We are in touch with that person and working to address the matter with them directly,” said Cosulich-Schwartz.

The suicide deterrent system, also known as the safety net, was built in 2017. It is made of gray steel, 20 feet below the sidewalk, extending 20 feet out from the bridge to prevent people from harming themselves.

While the suicide prevention barrier is not yet complete, the Golden Gate Bridge has seen a significant drop in the number of suicides.

“The first part of this year through July there have been six suicides at the Golden Gate Bridge,” said Cosulich-Schwartz. “For context, over the last 20 years, we’ve averaged about 30 suicides per year at the Golden Gate Bridge. Last year, we saw 22 over the entire course of the year, so suicides appear to be down. It will take some time after the net is complete to fully access the impact.”

If you or someone you know are having thoughts of suicide, contact the 988 Suicide and Crisis Lifeline.  

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