Page last updated at 08:07 GMT, Saturday, 23 May 2009 09:07 UK

China bridge jumper 'gets a push'

Haizhu Bridge, Guangzhou, China
Haizhu Bridge has been targeted by would-be suicide jumpers

A man threatening to commit suicide by jumping from a Chinese bridge was approached by a passer-by who shoved him over the edge, local media say.

Lai Jiansheng, 66, said he was fed up with the desperate man's "selfish activity" which caused huge traffic jams in Guangzhou, southern China.

Chen Fuchao fell 26ft (8m) on to an air cushion and is recovering in hospital, the official Xinhua news agency said.

Xinhua said Mr Lai was "taken away by police", but gave no further details.

The drama unfolded when Mr Chen climbed on to Haizhu Bridge in Guangzhou on Thursday and threatened to jump.

'Debt worries'

He told police he wanted to kill himself because he was 2m yuan ($293,000 or £184,000) in debt following a failed construction project, the China Daily reported.

Traffic around the bridge was stopped for five hours while officers tried to coax Mr Chen to safety.

Retired soldier Mr Lai at first volunteered to try to talk Mr Chen down but was turned away by police, Xinhua said.

Mr Lai is said to have then broken through the police cordon, climbed to where Mr Chen sat, greeted him with a handshake - and then pushed him off the edge.

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Pictures in the China Daily show him saluting to the crowd after Mr Chen fell on to the partially filled emergency air cushion.

"I pushed him off because jumpers like Chen are very selfish," the newspaper quoted Mr Lai as saying.

"Their action violates a lot of public interests. They do not really dare to kill themselves. Instead, they just want to raise the relevant government authorities' attention to their appeals."

Mr Chen is said to have suffered spine and elbow injuries and is recovering in a Guangzhou hospital.

The bridge has gained a macabre reputation, attracting at least 12 would-be suicide jumpers since the start of April, according to the China Daily report.

None of the 12 has jumped, although each has held up traffic for several hours, it said.

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