Forty-six people jumped to their deaths from the Golden Gate Bridge last year, the highest number since the late 1960s, according to the Bridge Rail Foundation.
The Sausalito-based foundation, which advocates for a suicide barrier on the span, released the figures Monday at a press conference in San Francisco.
"This is one of the highest totals ever," said Paul Muller, spokesman for the foundation, who said 49 people jumped in one year in the late 1960s. "We want to build a fire under these guys at the bridge to get this thing done."
In August 2013 alone, 10 people were known to have jumped to their deaths, according to the foundation.
One of those who jumped in August was 17-year-old Gabri Aparicio, a Redwood High School student.
"Ten people, that's one person every three days, that's astonishing," said her father Nicolas Aparicio, who spoke Monday at the press conference. "If that happened at any other business it would be shut down and the problem would be fixed."
Aparicio said his daughter was interviewing a former student for Redwood's The Bark newspaper just 30 minutes before she drove to the span and jumped.
"I think that shows it was an impulse and if a net was there she would still be alive," he said. "It's so easy to go over that 4-foot barrier. It's like a loaded gun."
Many of those who jump are young like Gabri. A report by the foundation looked at suicides from the bridge by analyzing the Marin County coroner's records from July 1, 1994, through June 30, 2009. Of the 330 deaths from the bridge during that period, 47 or 14.2 percent, involved people ages 14 to 24.
The 2013 death toll was more than totals reported in recent years. There were 33 suicides from the Golden Gate Bridge in 2012, 37 in 2011, 32 in 2010, 31 in 2009 and 34 in 2008, according to the group.
The suicide barrier for the Golden Gate Bridge has come into focus again as a $5 million final design nears completion, which has prompted officials to discuss ways to fund the $50 million project that supporters say will save an untold number of lives.
But board policy states toll dollars can't be used for the project, and outside funding sources would be needed to pay for the net.
The barrier has a powerful supporter in the Metropolitan Transportation Commission - the agency that hands out funds for Bay Area Transportation projects. In 2010, the agency provided $5 million in funding for the design of the barrier.
While not a transportation project per se, the commission views the barrier as a safety issue, similar to the ongoing seismic upgrade to Doyle Drive, MTC officials have said.
Backers of a suicide barrier also got a boost in July 2012 when President Obama signed a transportation bill that includes language allowing federal funds to flow to the project.
That transportation bill contains crucial wording allowing funding for suicide prevention including safety rails and nets on bridges. The language in the bill also clarifies that institutions such as the Golden Gate Bridge District - a special purpose district - are eligible for these funds.
Contact Mark Prado via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
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