A 14-year-old teenager who was visiting with his family at The Vessel, a 150-foot-tall tourist structure formed by a maze of stairs in New York City, lost his life Thursday when he plunged from an as-yet undetermined height for unknown reasons, local police said.
Boy dies after plunging from 150-foot-tall tourist structure in New York City
The Ship, located next to the Hudson River waterfront, reopened in late May with new security measures after it was closed in January following three suicides.
Since then, visitors were barred from entering the structure alone, the number of security personnel was increased and instructions were issued to try to detect people who might be experiencing a mental health crisis.
However, doubts remained: “The only way to prevent future tragedies is to increase the height of the safety barriers,” Lowell D. Kern declared in May.
The young man was found dead at the foot of the structure’s staircase at about 1 p.m. (East Coast local time), ABC News reported. He apparently jumped from the eighth floor while visiting family.
This is the fourth death since the 2019 opening of the Thomas Heatherwick-designed structure.
Suicides from iconic structures are a common tragedy elsewhere, such as the Golden Gate Bridge, which has spanned the San Francisco (California) Bay since 1937.
“People who want to commit suicide don’t want to hurt themselves, they’re looking to get it over with as soon as possible,” explained Steven Miller. “There seems to be a legend that jumping is looking for an easy death,” he adds, “but the reality is that it’s not an easy way to take one’s life. In fact, it’s a gruesome and very painful way.”
The 250-foot drop (the equivalent of a 25-story building) lasts mere seconds, at a speed of 75 miles per hour. But impact with the water doesn’t always guarantee death: it can lead to broken bones and internal bleeding and, if not rescued, drowning in the cold bay.
Some 1,700 people have taken their lives in this way since the bridge was built.