Ashington engineer steps in to save man in attempted A19 bridge suicide jump

Father-of-one Liam Clark dragged the man to safety after seeing him climb the bridge in an apparently distressed condition

Hero road worker Liam Clark of Ashington who prevented a suicide as a man tried to jump off the bridge at the Nissan junction on the A19
Hero road worker Liam Clark of Ashington who prevented a suicide as a man tried to jump off the bridge at the Nissan junction on the A19

An engineer saved a stranger’s life as he tried to jump from a bridge onto the A19.

Father-of-one Liam Clark, 23, spotted a troubled-looking man heading towards the bridge near Washington during rush hour on Thursday morning.

He saw the man, who appeared to have slash marks on his arms, step in front of cars on a busy roundabout over the dual carriageway then climb the railings spanning the bridge.

Liam sprinted to the man’s aid and pulled him to safety just as he attempted to jump.

The civil engineer, from Ashington, said: “I just thought I will never be able to live with myself if he jumps and dies, it would be on my conscience forever. I knew I just had to stop him. It is only just starting to sink in now that I have saved a life.”

Liam had only been at work for 30 minutes when the drama unfolded.

“I saw a bloke walking up the A19 with no top on and no shoes on and he had slashes on his wrists,” he said. “He just walked straight across the roundabout in front of cars and was walking towards the bridge.

“I just said to the lads; ‘He’s going to try and jump off that bridge’.

“He had put one foot over the edge and just as I got close to him he let go.”

Liam grabbed hold of the man and pulled him backwards.

“I just got hold of him around the neck and around the waist,” he said. “He was saying ‘just let me go’ but I kept hold. I was worried his weight was going to pull me over. But I managed to pull him back over the railings and then he just broke down crying. I really think he was ready to go.”

Liam’s colleagues dialled 999 and police and paramedics were soon at the scene.

The man was taken to South Tyneside General Hospital by ambulance and Liam was left to deal with the aftermath.

“I was just full of adrenalin after it happened,” he said. “I few people in cars stopped to shake my hand.”

A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police received a report of concern for the welfare of a man on the A19 road bridge in Sunderland. At around 8am officers attended the scene where a man was reported to be on the wrong side of the railings. The man had been brought to safety by a member of the public.”

This is not the first time Liam’s heroism has won praise.

In 2011, he helped crew onboard a plane he was on overpower a man who tried to open the aircraft door at 36,000 feet.

Liam was travelling on the Newcastle to Majorca flight with pals when a crazed passenger attempted to push open one of the plane’s emergency doors.

Liam jumped up from his seat and punched the man in the head to try and restrain him.

He said at the time: “We were coming home on the flight and I looked up and the bloke was going mad. I thought he was having a fit on the plane. But then he tried to open the doors.

“I couldn’t believe it, everyone was terrified because we were so high up.

“I just ran over and punched him in the head and then people restrained him. Passengers were shouting at me at first asking why I’d hit him, but what else could we have done – he was trying to open the doors when we were up in the air.”

The pilot then diverted to Gatwick Airport.


David Whetstone
Culture Editor
Graeme Whitfield
Business Editor
Mark Douglas
Newcastle United Editor
Stuart Rayner
Sports Writer