The NYPD Emergency Services Unit rushed to the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge Monday afternoon, where a man stood perilously on a ledge mid-span, 400 feet above the water, threatening to jump.
After determining that the man spoke Cantonese, The New York Daily News reports, the NYPD called in Officer Yi Huang, who speaks the Chinese language.
Over the course of four hours of negotiations-- during which a high school church group from Michigan formed a prayer circle at nearby Fort Wadsworth, and Staten Island-bound traffic on the upper level of the bridge was brought to a standstill-- Huang was able to talk down the man, reportedly distraught over fights with his 18-year-old daughter and financial troubles.
The man was despondent over arguments he had been having with his 18-year-old daughter, and also was upset over finances. Officer Huang learned further that the aided came from Taishan village in Guangdong province in southern China, where the officer’s family happened to be from and from where Officer Huang immigrated at age four to New York City’s Chinatown, where he now is assigned to patrol. Officer Huang spoke of his own family’s experience and asked him to think about seeing his daughter at her wedding, or meeting his grandchildren."
Eventually the man allowed cops to come out onto the ledge and bring him back to safety. The man was taken to Staten Island University Hospital, where he is in good condition.
Sources tell The Staten Island Advance that the Verrazano averages about two suicides a year, and inbetween four to six foiled attempts.