When trains & high buildings don't kill

Chris Docker

During 1965 to 1987, forty-five patients were admitted to Hornbæk Rehabilitation Hospital in Denmark because of spinal injury due to suicide attempts. 38 of these had jumped from high buildings: six from the first floor, 13 from the second floor, nine from the third floor, eight from the fourth floor, and one from the fifth floor. One patient jumped from the thirteenth floor and still survived, as did a man who jumped from a bridge 20 metres high and a woman who jumped from a granary 12 metres high. Of the remainder, two men had run against an armoured glass window, and one shot himself. The two remaining women had jumped in front of a train.

One patient jumped from the thirteenth floor and still survived ...
In the UK, 70,000 people a year attempt suicide: only 4,500 actually succeed. Jumping in the Thames is a popular choice, but slightly more people are either prevented or rescued than actually drown. But the most popular way of attempting suicide in London is throwing oneself into the path of "The Tube" - London's Underground railway. Although attracting two jumpers a week, half the attempted suiciders on the Tube only succeed in injuring themselves. Removing a person from beneath the train takes on average half an hour...

  • Thompson H, Last Gasps, Midweek 24 July 1993
  • Biering-Sørensen, Pedersen W, Giørtz Müller P, Spinal cord injury due to suicide attempts, Paparplegia 30(1992)139-144:139-144.