Suicide at Westfield causing distress

June 9, 2010 by J-Wire
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Many members of Sydney’s Jewish community were shopping at Westfield Bondi Junction when an elderly man fell to his death in the Atrium above Coles supermarket…and the Jewish House  and JewishCare are offering immediate counsel for those in distress.

Two Jewish organisations are offering support to anyone who may have been traumatised by the incident.

Rabbi Mendel Kastel, CEO of the Jewish House, told J-Wire: “My own wife was among those pushed back from the scene by police and is visibly distressed. We have had many enquiries from community members seeking counselling.”

The emergency Hotline for the Jewish House is 1 300 544 357.

JewishCare has qualified and experienced staff who are trained and qualified to help people who are experiencing trauma. Claire Vernon CEO of JewishCare said. “When such terrible events occur JewishCare  has professional staff on site who are available to help. I encourage any member of the community needing help to deal with this or other traumatic events to FirstCall JewishCare 1300 133 660  (9am – 10 pm,  7 days a week)”

An eyewitness told J-Wire: “It was a horrible experience. I was outside Coles near the fish shop and saw the body fall. The police shielded it immediately. It must have been a horrible experience for all the shoppers but must have been a terrible experience for the young children who were there.”

Westfield declined to comment


21 Responses to “Suicide at Westfield causing distress”
  1. Jean says:

    Today is December 2nd, 2013. When I was at Westfield, Bondi Junction this afternoon, around 3pm, another person jumped from the same place. The area was cordoned off with tape as described in accounts of the 2010 event. The incident doesn’t seem to be reported anywhere. I had gone down the escalator shortly before and saw a small group of people gathered at the top of one of the escalators looking up and down, but I didn’t stop to see what they were looking at. It must have been the person jumping or getting ready to jump. Not long before that, I saw a young man in orthodox Jewish dress in the mall. He seemed fidgety and uncomfortable. I am wondering if this was the man who jumped today and if today’s events are related to those reported on this thread from 2010. I cannot stop thinking about what happened today, wondering who was the person who jumped, why, was he the man I’d seen earlier? What a tragedy. No doubt people will always find a way, but Westfield needs to engineer safety nets or other such barriers to prevent this happening again.

  2. YOURAJOKE says:

    ummm disgusted are u kidding? people didnt do anything because they were not getting paid? the fact that this is the reasoning you come up with is a clear reflection of the disgusting person you are! rather than been disgusted at this poor man and other peoples comments look at urself! u sound pathetic judgemental and fucking retarded!
    yeh the man should not have done this in a shopping centre, but for someone to even contemplate suicide their thoughts have gone way beyond rational and cannot be held accountable for their actions! it was a tragedy and for u to say such disgusitng things as he will not go to heaven is disrespectful and disgusting!

  3. disgusted says:

    I think some people who were there would not do anything to assist because they were not getting paid. They would rather complain about what others did.


    Unfortunately when someone is depressed and suidical they aren’t concerned with what God thinks. They feel alone, debilitated and worthless and hopeless.

    (therefore, you too will not be going to Heaven…)

  5. Disgusted says:

    This was a very selfish act. God does not forgive those who take their own life. He will not go to Heaven

  6. Brian says:

    All you people who were there, who are SO very SORRY annoy the hell out of me, if you were there then EVERY ONE of you had a responsibility to do something about it, nothing is more distressing than APATHY. whether you like it or not WE are ALL responsible for each other.

  7. SandyD says:

    I was there, shopping on the bottom floor with absolutely no awareness of what was happening above me. It was only when I decided to leave the centre and took an escalator one level up that I realised that we were being barred from using the escalators and the figure of the man above us on the 5th floor was finally pointed out to me by another shopper.

    I have seen the video that has been posted on You Tube, and I think that the safety issues raised are valid points, but I am also grateful that Westfield security acted calmly. I think that the incident would have been made a lot worse if an atmosphere of tension or panic had been created. As it was, it was a huge shock, but what affected me most was the immediate outpouring of grief that happened in the centre immediately afterwards. I have also read a lot of comments that are very harsh and critical of the actions (or lack of actions) that were taken that day. I can only say that as a bystander, the incident itself was so unexpected and outside the norm that I didn’t know how to react. When I was first told that a man was going to jump, I thought that it must be part of a planned stunt. I therefore would be more forgiving of Westfield staff who did not think about creating a makeshift cushion to break the man’s fall, as well as the delay in evacuating the centre. At the time, even when I saw him just minutes before he fell, I did not actually believe that he was really going to do it. I assumed that they would talk him down, and that this would just be a strange little blip during the day. I simply could not conceive of the tragedy that actually unfurled before our eyes.

    Finally – if anyone who reads this knows any further information about the man, then I would be very grateful to hear more about him. It has been a very strange time, grieving for a man I glimpsed for only a few minutes, knew nothing about and yet will now never be able to forget. Reading comments posted here and on the You Tube video, I beileve there are a lot of us who witnessed the incident and are searching for some sort of outlet for this grief. Just being able to put what I saw in better context would help a lot. I hope that he has found his peace now. And I hope that he had happier moments in his life, far different from the state I saw him in that day.

  8. disgusted says:

    Hope all the experts who are saying what should be done as they have had so much experience do get in touch with Westfield and explain to them just how things should and must be done. Also get Jewish Care to issue these instructions and also the State Government.

  9. klin says:

    Steve says:
    June 9, 2010 10:44 pm at 10:44 pm

    “he chose his time before the centre was filled with school children.”

    That is terribly naive reasoning, to believe that the shopping centre was the most suitable area is fairly weak and even though he was obviously sick, do not try to reason out the actions of a man who would end his life in such a way.

  10. kaya says:

    But the guy was sitting over the railing for over 30 minutes why would you hang around to see what was going to happen?

  11. kaya says:

    also; i wasn’t there but i know he was sitting on the other side of the railing for ages.. why didn’t westfield get a big mattress or whatever they would use out to cushion his fall so he wouldn’t of died, instead of getting a big tent out to cover the body for when he jumps.. does anyone else find that strange?

  12. Support says:

    If you see someone in a dangerous position, such as a cliff edge or balcony etc, and they look or sound as though they want to jump it is important to keep a safe distance. There are cases where a jumper will grab someone near them. Or they may lose their footing and take someone with them, trying to get a better hold.

    It sounds as though everything was done in the safest way possible. I am just sad this person wanted to do it in front of so many people. Most suicides are not attempts, they are successful.

    If you were present I encourage to you seek support in way of therapy or counselling.

  13. disgusted says:

    I would also like to know why these upset people who saw him allegedly leaning over the rail did not do something themselves. Everyone seems to be saying what everyone should have done but they all stayed and did nothing.

  14. Steve says:

    I was just outside Norton St Grocers when gentlemen fell. I believe he waited till the area was clear below before he suicided and I believe he chose his time before the centre was filled with school children. The man had the time to contemplate his decision and if he was ‘rescued’ I believe it would have only prolonged his suffering. I hope he finds happiness beyond and may he rest in peace.

    I think the police and staff did a commendable job. The crowed centre was not sent into a panic and his body was covered within seconds. I feel for the person who was talking with him moments before his death – it was a very brave act that was most likely undertaken by someone who had no training – thank you.

  15. sharifa says:

    I first saw him when I was going to Harvey Normans, then security came to speak to him,why didn’t the get some sort of catch net.
    It was so sad as he had a teddy bear with him,I went down stairs to go to my car and he jumped,everyone screamed.
    I pray he has gone to a better place god bless him x

  16. Leah says:

    It is extremely sad when anyone in this world takes their own life.
    One can only hope that they were not aware, as we know it and they find peace.

    I believe I probably have an accurate account of the next 10 minutes, apart from seeing the man climb over the rail. In fact if anyone saw the man climb over the rail, why did they not call security or the management.

    I was with my friend standing with my back to the concierge desk in the centre, near the Bronte Road entrance. We hugged goodbye and she was facing the escalator arena. She was taken aback suddenly and said “look” – with that same feeling of shock one gets when near the edge of a cliff, say,and feels somewhat dizzy.

    I looked up and saw a very still figure, sitting on a rail, which is like a ledge, outside the protective glass railing and below it.

    The figure was a man, dressed in a black hat and wearing a black long tailed morning suit. He was facing the glass railing and extremely still, so much so I thought it was a manequin or some type of promotion in bad taste. I’m sure you have all seen the statue like people who can stand for hours.

    My friend had to go, but after the “sick” feeling which sometimes happens when you move suddenly, I turned to the concierge and said, I’m not sure who is responsible for the “figure on the ledge” but it is frightening people and not safe for those of us who are aging, please call security and have it removed.

    The young concierge looked around and even though expecting to see something also jumped with shock.

    He called security imediately at which time another lady who happened to walk up, saw what we were looking at. She watched for a minute and then said “I think it is a man” Her friend said I don’t think so. We then noticed a foot move.

    I urgently said to the concierge who was still on the phone, a foot moved, it is a man. The concierge told security to hurry because a man had climed over the railing. He wasted no words, didn’t panic and should be commended.

    I must say that the management at Westfield mobilized security in a flash and within a couple of minutes someone was attempting to keep the man calm. The police were on the scene extremely quickly and security commenced to calmly tape off the area.

    I was still in the centre and heard the crowd as he fell. Fortunately I was far enough away to only catch a spek out of the corner of one eye.

    To Trish, who commented earlier: apropos the shoppers, I believe it was in everyone’s interest not to cause panic by shunting shoppers out in a hurry, which possibly might have cause chaos. As the shoppers came out of the stores, they realized that they could actually only go out in one direction, because excalators were blocked off extremely quickly along with all entrances bar one, on each floor.

    I was still in the cordoned off area and was very grateful for the calm.

    Most people in the centre, had no idea what had happened, and why there were barricades because of the man’s position, he was out of view to many. They should all be grateful..

    I was close enough, to see his profile from the escallator as I sought an exit.

    I would also like to think that those people taking photos, did so because they had full hope that the man would be rescued, and the photo would serve as a talking piece, or maybe an item to send to the media. For those who took them for any other reason, I hope they have the ability eventually to move forward in their outlook to life.

    I also pray that anyone who did take photos had now deleted them.

  17. Tony says:

    My wife and I were there as well. We felt distressed and left around 1:45 (before the jumping). So sad, may he rest in peace. We wonder why the shop manager did not take any action: there were a lot tents, mattresses, nets,paper boxes around … and at least they did have plenty of time to evacuate all people from seeing the incident

  18. Dean says:

    Lol trish. if I was 50/50 about jumping and they started to erect and tent below for my impending death then I would jump.!

  19. sandra says:

    Today i was at bodijunction shopping centre with my sister at harvey norman when we saw a man over the railing ready to jump,a man was serving me then we went to see whats going on .iwent back in as I didnt want to see that he might actually jump asI come here often and I didnt want to see that as it would always be in my head ,a reminder of what happened here today. When i went back in, the guy was already serving someone else and i suddenly realized we better get out of here incase he jumps and we didnt want to be in that atmosphere I was in disbelief that they were still serving customers while someones life was in danger they should have cleared the place up.As we were coming out A lady wouldnt let us out and we begged her to let us go . Then she let us go through myers. As we were leaving I noticed people still coming in through Myers and being served and i was telling people not to go in ,People with prams and children.
    I am very dissappointed to see this man talking with the security guard for at least 15 minutes they had plenty of time to put something at the bottom in case he jumped or to get professional help for the man. As we left the shopping centre from the car park there were still people coming in the car park. We drove to the front and we saw lots of police cars and ambulances we saw heaps of people walking out and talking on their mobile phones crying and we knew he must have jumped.

    Reading what trish wrote and about the check out girls I am discusted that they had to witness it they should have cleared that section quickly . It was as if nothing was happening different in the day all they worry about is not loosing business. No respect to the man that passed away.I have friends that saw the whole thing happen and they are distraut. There would have been more police and action if there was somebody stealing money than someones life in danger . People that witnessed it would be traumatised they werent protected.

    My sister and I wish things happened differently and that there was help available for the man.
    Our condolances to the family
    May he REST IN PEACE.

  20. Trish says:

    Yes, I was there too at Bondi Junction Westfield @ Norton St Grocers – all of the checkout girls were very, very upset. He was within their eyeline of sight and of course they saw him fall. I could not understand why there was a tent erected and cordoned off before he had jumped: …. Why had they not got all the shoppers out sooner ????

    We have not been told anything….

    Anyway … I am not Jewish, but you site is the only one reporting accurately.

    May he or she REST IN PEACE.

  21. Yakov strukov says:

    it was sick, people were filming it with their iphones etc. shame on them all. I left before the jumping. just saw him climb over and hang there. Sad. very sad

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