Truck Driver Talks Down Suicidal Man

Van Staden's River Bridge

Van Staden's River Bridge At 2:00 a.m., South African Truck driver Harry Vermaak, 54, was driving over the Van Stadens River bridge, when he noticed a Mazda parked in the emergency lane of the bridge.

“A very pale man got out; I realized he was going to jump,” Vermaak said.

Vermaak pulled over and parked his truck and approached the man.

“Vermaak said they spoke about ‘different things.’ He discovered that the man had two children when the man produced a letter and told him to hand it over to his children,” iOL News reported.

At one point during their one-hour conversation, the man’s phone rang and he handed it to Vermaak to answer. It was the man’s daughter.  Vermaak informed the daughter of the situation. She then handed the phone over to her mom.

“She then put her mother on the phone, but the man started walking [away],” Vermaak explained.

Vermaak grabbed the man’s arm and called the police.  When the police van arrived, Vermaak offered to drive the man to the police station.  Once they got to the police station, Vermaak called the man’s family.

“It was scary knowing that all that was standing between this man and death was me,” Vermaak said.

According to iOL News, just hours earlier 28-year-old Wayne Wewege plunged over the side of the same bridge, marking the 85th suicide off the bridge since 1971.

The Van Staden’s River Bridge has been called “the bridge of death” by many.  The bridge is 460 feet high.