Jumper (person)

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A jumper, in police and media parlance, is a person who plans to fall or jump (or already has fallen or jumped) from a potentially deadly height, sometimes with the intention to commit suicide, at other times to escape conditions inside (e.g. a burning building).[1][2]

The term includes all those who jump, regardless of motivation or consequences. That is, it includes people making sincere suicide attempts, those making parasuicidal gestures, and those attempting to escape conditions that they perceive as posing greater risk than would the fall from a jump, and it applies whether or not the fall is fatal. Survivors of falls from hazardous heights are often left with major injuries and permanent disabilities from the impact-related injuries.[3] A frequent scenario is that the jumper will sit on an elevated highway or building-ledge as police attempt to talk them down. Observers sometimes encourage potential jumpers to jump, an effect known as "suicide baiting".[4]

The term was brought to prominence in the aftermath of the September 11 attacks, in which approximately 200 people at the point of impact or trapped above the point of impact in the North and South towers of the World Trade Center jumped to escape the fire and the smoke caused by the direct impact of Flights 11 and 175. Many of these jumpers were inadvertently captured on both television and amateur footage, even though television networks reporting on the tragedy attempted to avoid showing the jumpers falling to avoid upsetting viewers.

The highest documented suicide jump was by skydiver Charles "Nish" Bruce,[5] who killed himself by leaping without a parachute from an airplane, at an altitude of over 5,000 feet (1,500 m).[6]

See also[edit]

  • Autodefenestration, purposefully jumping out of a window
  • The Bridge (2006), documentary film about jumpers on the Golden Gate Bridge
  • The Falling Man, iconic photograph of one of the hundreds of casualties of the September 11 attack victims who fell or jumped from the burning World Trade Center[7]
  • Lover's Leap, nickname for many scenic heights with the risk of a fatal fall and the possibility of a deliberate jump
  • Suicide barrier, access-control fence erected at certain high places to deter jumpers
  • Suicide bridge, particular bridges favored by jumpers
  • List of suicide sites


  1. ^ Kemp, Joe (March 20, 2011). "Miracle mom who survived horrific 1911 Triangle Shirtwaist factory fire was 'one in a million'". New York Daily News. 
  2. ^ Leonard, Tom Leonard (11 September 2011). "The 9/11 victims America wants to forget: The 200 jumpers who flung themselves from the Twin Towers who have been 'airbrushed from history'". Mail Online. 
  3. ^ "Attempted Suicide Horrors". Suicide.org!. Retrieved 2010-12-17. 
  4. ^ Mann, L. (1981). "The baiting crowd in episodes of threatened suicide". Journal of Personality and Social Psychology. 41 (4): 703–9. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.41.4.703. 
  5. ^ Allison, Rebecca (21 June 2002). "Suicide Verdict – Depressed pilot leapt to death". The Guardian. 
  6. ^ "SAS Soldier dies in plane plunge". CNN World News. 10 January 2002. Archived from the original on 7 April 2013. 
  7. ^ http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/LETHAL-BEAUTY-No-easy-death-Suicide-by-bridge-2562269.php#page-1