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Wednesday, 29 August, 2001, 07:48 GMT 08:48 UK
Drivers tip Seattle woman into jumping
Woman and police on bridge over Seattle's Bridge Canal
Motorists started screaming for woman to jump
Seattle's image as a civilised city has taken a blow after rush-hour motorists shouted at a woman to hurry up her suicide jump so traffic could clear.

The unnamed woman caused three hours of traffic hell after threatening to jump off a 50-metre (160-foot) high road bridge over Seattle's Ship Canal.

We had motorists, truckers, people in a Metro bus, screaming at her to jump

Assistant police chief John Diaz

Police trying to talk her down had to shut one side of the bridge after drivers crawling past the scene started offering suggestions.

"We had motorists, truckers, people in a Metro bus, screaming at her to jump," assistant police chief John Diaz said.

'Just do it'

A police spokesman said that while officers were trying to talk the woman down, motorists were shouting things like "just do it" and "get it over with".

Despite coaxing from police negotiators, the woman carried out her threat and jumped.

Seattle skyline
Traffic gridlock is a mounting problem
Police divers said she hit the water backside first and probably hit the bottom too since the water is only 4.5 metres (15 feet) deep.

She was rushed to a local hospital, where her chest and abdominal injuries were described as critical.

Police spokesman Clem Benton told Reuters news agency: "Obviously when you have an individual in some type of crisis, yelling for her to jump is very insensitive to that person's life".

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