A California Highway Patrol officer is being credited with saving the life of a distraught man who appeared to be about to commit suicide by jumping off a San Francisco Bay Area bridge.

The CHP says officers were sent to the Benicia Bridge around 10:30 a.m. Thursday when a call came in that a man was on the ledge of the span and contemplating suicide by jumping off. The bridge, which rises nearly 140 feet above the Carquinez Strait, carries several lanes of traffic along Interstate 680, the most direct route between San Francisco and Sacramento.

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CHP: Officer found man in tears, on ledge of the bridge

The CHP said when Officer Thomas Westropp-Bennett arrived at the scene he found the man in tears on the ledge of the bridge. The officer was able to talk the man down from the ledge by, according to the CHP, “relating some of his own personal difficulties in life.” After the man had agreed to come down, he was taken to a local hospital for treatment.

“At the end of the day, we are all connected in this journey of life, and we are all community members,” the CHP said in a statement after the incident.

“We hope this man gets back on track to a prosperous and healthy life.”

Woman jumped to her death from same bridge earlier this month

Though suicides off the Benicia Bridge are rare, earlier this month a 60-year-old woman jumped to her death after police say she deliberately ran down her estranged husband and two other people after a court hearing in nearby Martinez. The three people hit by the car survived, suffering moderate injuries. The U.S. Coast Guard later recovered the woman’s body in the waters below.

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Golden Gate Bridge has dubious distinction of more suicides

San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge, about 40 miles to the southwest, has the most dubious distinction of being a magnet for suicides. Officials say 33 people killed themselves by jumping off the bridge last year, while nearly 1,600 people have committed suicide in leaps off the bridge since 1937. A net to prevent people from jumping to their deaths is planned for the bridge.

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