Death by fall: Slippery ground for investigators

At least 7 lives lost in the past 3 months; most cases are reported as accidents when suicide may be the actual cause.
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo, Express illustrations)
Image used for representational purpose only. (File Photo, Express illustrations)

KOCHI: Negligence or carelessness? Accident or suicide? As the number of deaths reported in the city following a fall from multi-storey buildings rises, police and psychologists are still grappling for answers. In the latest incident, an 18-year-old migrant worker from Odisha died after he fell from the first-floor balcony of a house in Ponekkara on Monday. In another recent instance, a youngster fell to his death from a flat in Kakkanad.

At least seven persons have lost their lives in the last three months in Kochi to falls from high-rises. “It is true that the number of such incidents is showing an upward trend. Though such cases look accidental, some of them are clear cases of suicide,” said P V Baby, ACP.

Officials said that most people believe the accident angle. But law enforcement agencies are not convinced. “Not all incidents can be classified as accidents,” said another police officer.

However, noted psychiatrist C J John said impulsivity is a key factor in suicides among the young. “We have seen such suicidal behaviour among people with personality disorders. We advise them to refrain from staying in high-rise buildings. If we identify people with these kinds of warning signs, we can easily help them. Proper counselling will be enough to save them from taking extreme steps,” John said.

Last August, an 18-year-old girl died after slipping from the 10th floor of her building in the middle of her morning exercise. Though it’s been reported as an accident, police officers said it was a case of suicide. In another case in September, a 17-year-old boy died after he fell from the balcony of his house in a private apartment complex. This case was also reported as an accident though the police still believe otherwise.

A similar incident was reported four days later. A 20-year-old woman fell from the 11th floor of her apartment and died on the spot. In another instance, a model and small-time actor is battling for her life after she fell from the fourth floor of her apartment in the city.

A police officer said the reasons for almost all such falls are mostly the same in other areas, as well. “We cannot cite the reason as Kochi-specific. But, the cases we investigated in Kochi suggest suicide, mostly,” he added. (Names, exact dates, and locations are not mentioned to ensure the privacy of victims.)

Suicide prevention helpline numbers

Thanal Suicide Prevention Centre

0495 2760000

0484 2540530
- 10am to 6pm

Related Stories

No stories found.

The New Indian Express