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Derry river rescue drama highlights shocking rise in suicide bids

By Donna Deeney

Published 23/04/2015

Debate: Gary Middleton
Debate: Gary Middleton

A young woman was dramatically pulled from a river after attempting suicide by jumping off a bridge.

Rescuers rushed to save the woman who plunged from the Craigavon Bridge in Londonderry at around 6.30pm on Tuesday.

It was the second such incident on the River Foyle in the past week.

Three bodies have also been recovered, five people rescued and more than 25 others prevented from entering the water over the past four weeks.

The figures mark a worrying increase in suicides and rescues in Derry which has prompted a call for an overhaul of available services.

Foyle Search and Rescue chairman Stephen Twells has called for an appropriate facility for people who are suicidal.

"After a month of absolutely no call-outs in January we have been experiencing one of the busiest times I can remember," he said.

"Since February, the bodies of three people have been recovered. We took five others from the river to safety but in more than 25 other occasions we intervened with people who were at the side of bridges in a distressed state."

DUP MLA Gary Middleton has now tabled an Assembly debate on how to address the issue of suicide in the north west which will take place in May.

"I am aware of a number of people recently in the Londonderry area who have recently attempted to end their lives by suicide, and we must be proactive in offering support and services to those who are contemplating suicide," he said.

"We owe a huge debt of gratitude to groups such as Foyle Search and Rescue who've done so much to not only rescue those who have entered the water, but to intervene and prevent people who are considering doing so."

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