Man threatens to hurl himself from Sky Tower

MICHELLE ROBINSON
Last updated 13:12 06/01/2013
Sky Tower
LAWRENCE SMITH/Fairfax NZ

AERIAL DRAMA: The man who threatened to jump off the Sky Tower on the edge of the bungy platform.

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A man who threatened to jump from the Sky Tower in Auckland is safely back in the care of mental health services.

Waikato District Health Board is investigating how the man came to leave its Mental Health and Addiction Services’, where he was an inpatient, yesterday.

The man is back in the Henry Rongomau Bennett Centre on the Waikato Hospital campus, DHB communications director Mary-Anne Gill said.

The 108 bed facility provides minimum to medium secure rehabilitation for the Waikato DHB and Midland region.

DHB safety team leader Stuart Irwin recently said the facility was a dangerous place to work with more than 190 assaults against staff reported in the last financial year.

The man’s attempts to throw himself off the bungy platform at the tower’s 54th level, without a harness, sparked a dramatic emergency services call-out yesterday afternoon.

A section from Federal and Victoria Sts was cordoned off from 3.10pm until the man was finally escorted off the platform by a harnessed police negotiation squad around 8pm.

A large crowd of onlookers watched in horror as the man walked to the edge of the platform 192 metres above the ground and sat down, dangling his legs over the edge.

Eye-witnesses said he was dressed in an orange suit and appeared distressed on the tower’s SkyWalk attraction after buying a ticket.

“He didn’t harness up. He just stepped out and made it quite obvious he was contemplating taking his life,” police Northern Communications inspector Willie Taylor said.

Bus services in the area were cancelled and the Sky Tower and two internal restaurants were closed during the incident, disrupting Saturday evening plans for thousands of people.

It’s unknown whether the man will face criminal charges.

The SkyWalk and SkyJump attractions remain closed today, SkyCity staff said.

The SkyJump will reopen at 10am tomorrow, but the SkyWalk is closed until further notice.

The observation deck is open today.

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