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Bridge of Death

Bridge of Death
Photo Information
Copyright: Neels Gunter (corjan3) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 405 W: 61 N: 331] (3175)
Genre: Places
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-04-30
Categories: Decisive Moment, Mood
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2016-04-29 10:43
Viewed: 2014
Points: 12
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Situated 30 Km's from the city of Port Elizabeth, the bridge over the Van Staden's River Gorge has no artistic merit or visual appeal. It is a modern arch bridge and, with its height of 140 metres, it has become notorious for the many suicides that have been committed there. No one has survived the fall and the crash on the rocky river bed.

For those who are interested in this 45-year history, the following is an extract from Wikipedia: "The Van Stadens Bridge on the N2 was opened on November 11, 1971. Just 12 days later, a Uitenhage man jumped to his death, and its reputation as the Bridge of Death grew from there.

A R1-million video-camera surveillance system, paid for by private donors, was installed in August 2005. Gauteng journalist, Franz Kemp, raised the funds after his daughter Inge had jumped off the bridge in 2003. The local police and pedestrians have rescued some twenty people from jumping off since that time.

One such dramatic rescue took place when a man from Humansdorp wanted to commit suicide from the bridge but was stopped just in time by Freddie van Niekerk, who had just walked past him and said he "felt a sudden chill, as if God was speaking to me" and grabbed the man. (The subject of a biography that I recently completed and who has much experience of Satanism, is convinced that there is a strong satanic influence - my remark) Van Niekerk endangered his own life and battled for 45 minutes to stop the man from jumping. Van Niekerk remained with the desperate man, even after the suicidal man had grabbed his benefactor's arms and threatened to pull him off the bridge, too. Van Niekerk had to save that same man a second time that day when he escaped from the Thornhill police station and started jogging back towards the bridge again.

The Thornhill police department, which has a specialist-counselling team on hand for the bereaved relatives of these suicides, retrieved the crushed bodies of an unnamed little girl, an older boy, and a man on whom they found a suicide note. They believe, based on the suicide note, that the three people died shortly after October 31, 2008. Piecing together the events leading to the tragedy, police came to the conclusion that the man must have thrown the two children over the side, sending them plummeting to the rocky floor of the gorge, before jumping himself. The bodies were not found in one place, suggesting that one of the children might have panicked and tried to flee after the first victim went over the side.

Captain Anton Smit said the traumatic discovery was made by two Port Elizabeth teenagers who had gone for a walk during a picnic near the Van Stadens Wild Flower Reserve. Bryan van Vuuren, 17, and his friend Andre Trauernicht, 18, first discovered the body of the boy. The teens alerted Thornhill police station and showed them where they discovered the body. Soon afterwards, the body of the man was found a few metres away. There was also a note indicating that there was another body somewhere among the bushes. The note also mentioned three women who should be notified of the deaths.

A police sniffer dog was called in and the body of the girl was discovered several metres further from where the other two bodies were found. The bodies were not severely decomposed and were identifiable. There was no sign of a vehicle parked near the bridge."

Reflex, mesquens1, Jonathan has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • Reflex Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 639 W: 205 N: 43] (1347)
  • [2016-04-29 11:57]

Sympa ! A very original idea to show this bridge in his reflect. The reflect of... death ! Brrr

  • Great 
  • jackal Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 790 W: 26 N: 808] (9654)
  • [2016-04-29 23:18]

Hi Neels,
a great way of showing the bridge, not often the subject is not in the frame, good DoF throughout

  • Great 
  • jods Silver Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 21 W: 0 N: 101] (578)
  • [2016-04-30 0:42]

Bonjour Neels,

Très bonne idée de réflection, l'association de votre titre et cette image donne froid dans le dos. J'aime le coté mystérieux de votre composition au delà du fait que votre cadrage soit parfait, Félicitations!

Olá Neels,
This is one of the great contributions to the theme of this week.
I want to highlight the graphical beauty of the rocks in the foreground.
Have a nice WE.

HiNeels. Great capture good ideea, well donee. Regards Csabi

H Neels,
From a photographic point a very well seen and uniquely captured.The natural elements included gives a perfect idea of the area under the bridge and the reflection of the bridge a perfect entry for the bridge theme. Thanx for the informative and interesting note and a lot of effort, well done.

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