Locals say the area has turned into a suicide hotspot in recent times; yesterday, fishermen rescued a man who claimed to have lost his balance and toppled over
A Panvel resident ‘fell off’ the bridge at Vashi creek yesterday, only to be saved by fishermen who saw him drowning.
Though in his statement to the police, Sunil Sawant (49), an employee of a private sector firm in Tilaknagar, said that he lost his balance and fell from the bridge while trying to chuck some flowers into the creek, the people who saved him have a different narrative.
Catch of the day: Manoj Bhoir (left, in yellow T-shirt), the fisherman, who saved the life of a person, who fell into the creek from Vashi Bridge yesterday. Pic/Emmanual Karbhari
“Around 9 am, we saw a man jumping off the bridge, and my friend, who is a fisherman, took his boat and rushed to the place in order to rescue this person. He was brought to the shore and I removed him from the boat myself,” said Chandrakant Bhoir, adding that it was not rare for them to witness people taking a plunge from the bridge.
“At any hour of the day, people, who want to end their lives, come and leap off from here, and we have to take our boats and nets to go and save them,” added Bhoir.
Manoj Mahadev Bhoir (34), who went to rescue Sawant with his boat, said that he was just about to go fishing, when he heard a person screaming, ‘bachao, bachao’.
“I took my boat and went in that direction. When I got close, I pulled him into my boat. When I brought him to the shore, he was grateful to me, but mentioned that he had some tension related to his work, and so he tried to end his life,” said Bhoir, adding that when people attempt to commit suicide at the creek, the fisherfolk do everything they can to save them. But this causes a lot of problems, as they lose precious time for fishing.
Also, if their nets are damaged in the process, then it takes a minimum of three days to fix these.
The fisherfolk added that there is about 12 feet of water in the creek and, therefore, while they try to save every jumper, they are not always successful.
The fishermen said that they come to catch fish at the creek around 6 am, and are there throughout the day.
Sangeeta Shinde Alphonso, inspector of Vashi police station, said, “Sawant, who fell off the bridge, was in a four-wheeler along with two other people, when he got off the car in order to throw some flowers into
the creek. But, he claims his mobile phone fell out of his pocket, and while trying to catch it, he lost his balance and toppled over.”
She added, “In the last six months, I have seen at least six people trying to jump from the creek. In fact, the fisherfolk themselves tell me how after the movie Aashiqui 2 released, the number of people attempting to commit suicide from this bridge has gone up. However, as there is not much water here, and the fishermen are always present in the creek, most of the people are rescued.”
On Feb 3, a 16-year-old girl, who was distressed when her family asked her to wait till she turned 18 to marry her beau, jumped into the creek to take her life. Her boyfriend, too, jumped in. Both survived the suicide attempt (‘Why I jumped off a bridge with the girl I love’, February 4).