Officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit prevented a “despondent” Brooklyn man from taking his own life by jumping off the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge on Monday.
A “marathon negotiation session” began at around 12 when Lin Huan Qiong, 46, from Sheepshead Bay was seen climbing one of the bridge’s metal “fingers,” writes John M. Annese as part of a thrilling rescue story for the Staten Island Advance.
Police told the Advance that both an argument Lin had with his 18-year-old daughter and a failing business led to the standoff. Because he only speaks Cantonese, ESU negotiators had to put out the call for bilingual officers.
The NYPD’s Emergency Services Unit Truck 5 — which has racked up a resume of high-profile saves and rescues on and off Staten Island — responded, along with a hostage negotiation team, but they soon realized their words weren’t registering.
Lin only spoke Cantonese.
They radioed for an interpreter, and two arrived — Officer Yi Huang, with the NYPD’s 5th Precinct in Chinatown, and Triborough Bridge and Tunnel Authority Officer Eddie Fung.
A four-hour conversation with Lin followed, as storm clouds loomed, and a small crowd of onlookers watched from the tourist binoculars at Fort Wadsworth on the shore.
“He’s a mentally distraught man, and you have to talk to him about the lighter things in life, and how all of his problems can be worked out,” NYPD Sgt. Anthony Lisi, who supervised the ESU squad, told silive.
After some small talk, Officer Huang discovered that Lin hails from Taishan village in the Guangdong province of southern China – which coincidentally lies in the same region Huang’s family emigrated from when he was four.
Officer Huang tried to get Lin to think about his family, and all the moments he would miss by prematurely shuffling off this mortal coil.
“It was four hours of talking… of talking through a translator, to break down the barrier. That’s why we took this job, to help people, to get them through their tough times,” said Det. Anthony Borowiec, who along with Det. Dennis Canale spoke with Lin.
“At one point he got a little spooked and went down over the edge, he was literally standing on the rivets on the outside,” Canale said.
Finally, mother nature proved the decisive factor in Lin’s decision not to die.
After some timely thunder and lightning became temporarily more intimidating than his creditors, Lin finally decided to come down at around 5:15 p.m.
There have been a number of suicides – as well as failed attempts – from the bridge in recent months.
According to Staten Island Advance, the Verrazano has witnessed five suicides, and four attempted jumps, since December.
Additionally, on May 15, police discovered the body of a man who is believed to have taken his own life with a .25-caliber semi-automatic hand gun, sitting in a dark minivan in a rest area near the Brooklyn side of the bridge.
[UPDATED] 7/31/12 to reflect that reports now indicate it was MTA Bridge and Tunnel officer Eddie Fung who spent four hours talking down despondent civilian Lin Huan Quiang, not Officer Yi Huang of the NYPD’s 5th Precinct in Chinatown – as had previously been reported by multiple news organizations. Click Here For a Full Update Of The Story.