There were delays of up to seven hours on Dartford Bridge last night after a man leapt to his death following lengthy negotiations with police trying to talk him down.
The man, who has not yet been named but is believed to be 42 and from Buckinghamshire, left his car blocking lane one of the Queen Elizabeth II bridge shortly after 11am yesterday morning.
He apparently climbed over safety barriers at the highest point of the bridge, which links the M25 at Thurrock in Essex and Dartford in Kent, and threatened to jump into the River Thames below.
An Essex police spokesman said: “Police officers, including trained negotiators, spent several hours talking to the man trying to get him to come back over the barrier.”
After an estimated four hours of negotiation failed to convince the man to come back over the safety barrier, he is said to have “walked to the apex of the bridge and plunged into the river”.
The man was recovered by lifeboat and taken to an ambulance waiting nearby before being transported to Darent Valley Hospital in Dartford, where he was pronounced dead.
The incident caused traffic delays of up to seven hours in the area, firstly while negotiations were taking place and later while police ensured the man’s vehicle was safe to recover.