Elayne Riggs' Journal (for Leah)

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Witness to Tragedy

I'll have a Silly Site shortly, but I haven't felt terribly silly today. This morning I witnessed the last violent throes of a human life, as a man fell 42 stories to his death not ten feet in front of me - or, more accurately, about ten feet to my side. As I was walking along the sidewalk on the south side of the street, the corner of my eye caught something falling, and I turned just in time to hear an enormous and sickening THUD and see a body laying in the road on the north side of the street. Somewhere inside I suddenly realized that a falling body does not bounce when it hits the ground, as I guess I'd surmised it did; at least this body didn't from that height with such tremendous force behind it. I've been shaky all day, as you might imagine. I've never actually seen anyone die right in front of me before (although a few years ago when I was working in New Rochelle a wayward pedestrian was apparently decapitated on the street right outside my office by a truck, I didn't actually see it happen). This made the local papers fairly quickly because there's a tie-in to baseball, as the hotel whence the man jumped was being used by the LA Angels. I think I spoke with the truck driver quoted here, and I can totally corroborate what he says: "a flash of something falling down, and then 'boom'." I hope to God I never witness anything like that again. To New Yorkers' credit, at least a half dozen witnesses immediately dialed 911. I didn't stick around to gawk, and by the time I turned the corner onto Sixth Avenue the cops had already shut down the street. I feel very fortunate to live and work in a city whose emergency services can mobilize so quickly.


Tegan said...

My condolences. That has to be very tough.

Carolyn said...