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Suicide attempts over Han River every other day

A suicide attempt happens once every two days off the bridges that overlook the Han River in Seoul, a government report said Monday.

According to the report by Seoul Metropolitan Government, over the past five years 892 people have attempted suicide over the Han River.

The report, submitted to the National Assembly’s Public Administration and Security Committee, said that of 892 people, 375 have taken their lives by jumping off one of the 24 bridges overlooking the river.

The numbers over the years have seen a slight rise with 155 attempts in 2006, 165 in 2008 and 193 in 2010 with a yearly average of 178 people.

Most of the attempts occurred on Mapo Bridge with 113 people, followed by Hangang Bridge, Wonhyo, Seogang and Seongsan Bridge.

It was also found that Gangdong Bridge had the fewest number of suicide attempts with just three in 2007 over the past five years. Seoul’s last bridge over the river on the east side of the city is for Seoul Ring Expressway and does not have a pedestrian walk across it.

During the same period, the Gwangjin Fire Station and the Yeongdeungpo Fire Station received 293 and 599 distress calls related to suicide attempts, respectively.

“There are instances in which calls come in just after someone had jumped, but there are cases in which people are reporting a dead body,” said an official from the Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters.

Gwangjin has 22 rescue workers on standby while Yeongdeungpo has another 17.

According to government data from 2009, Korea has the highest suicide rate among all member countries of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. The data by Statistics Korea shows that there are some 31.2 suicides for every 100,000 people, which also accounts for the biggest cause of death among 10- to 40-year-olds here.

By Robert Lee (
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Korea Herald daum