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Golden Gate bridge to get suicide-prevention net

The board that controls the Golden Gate Bridge has voted to place a net under the bridge to catch attempted suicide jumpers, the Star Tribune reported.

The plan is not final, as an environmental review still needs to take place, including a look at how a net might affect pelicans and cormorants, frequent visitors of the bridge. Also, a financial plan will need to be created, since they are estimating the net at $40 million to $50 million.

Dr. Mel Blaustein, the president of the Psychiatric Foundation of Northern California, supports the idea of the net, calling the bridge a "suicide magnet".

"This is a red-letter day in the history of San Francisco," he said. "Sometimes all they need is a certain amount of time to stop and reflect and change their mind."

About 20 people a year kill themselves at the bridge, where the road hovers more than 200 feet above San Francisco Bay and the railing is only 4 feet high. Last year, however, 38 people killed themselves jumping off this bridge, and this year there have already been 19.

The net, made of wire rope coated with plastic, would hang about 20 feet below the walkways on either side of the bridge and extend 20 feet out.

Denis Mulligan, chief engineer for the bridge, said similar style nets had much success in Europe.