Three Vashi bridges that connect Mumbai and Navi Mumbai have become a suicide hotspot after many people jumped off these bridges in the past several years. It is always a difficult task to save these people who are eager to end their life, however, a local fisherman Mahesh Ashok Sutar, 37, manages to come to their rescue at such a crucial time. So far he has saved atleast 28 people from drowning themselves. He also helps the police to find dead bodies from the sea as well.
Sometime people jump from either of the three bridges that connect the two cities, while some people try to take the extreme step by jumping off running trains. Sutar a local fisherman who most of the time is fishing in the creek along the bridges rushes to the rescue of such people, whenever he sees someone jumping. Sutar has so far rescued atleast 28 people, while has helped removed over 40 dead bodies from the creek in the past 10 years.
In the last week alone he saved two youths who had jumped into the creek. Before that on September 25, Sutar prevented a 18-year-old girl who was about to jump from the Vashi bridge. The girl had decided to end her life after she had fought with her mother.
A resident of Vashi village, Sutar comes daily for fishing to the Vashi Creek, "Mostly while fishing I find people jumping from the bridge and then rush to their rescue immediately leaving all my ongoing work behind. In rescue operations, timing is all that matters. I rush immediately as soon as I see them jumping and that is the reason I was able to save 28 people so far. Sometimes I have failed as well," said Sutar.
"After rescuing them people narrate what led them to take the extreme step, I try to calm them down and advice them that life is precious and there is always a way out, " added Sutar.
Sutar has lost his fishing nets on a couple of occasions when he had to leave behind the nets to help the drowning people. The nets were either stolen or washed away due to the waves.
Since Sutar has in-depth knowledge of the creek and he knows where the body could wash ashore after jumping from a particular spot, cops approach to find dead bodies.
"As soon as someone jumps into the sea from our beat marshals alert Sutar and few other fishermen, most of the time they are fishing in the vicinity as a result many people have been saved successfully by them. For his good work Sutar was also felicitated by police department as well," said Ravindra Daundkar police inspector of Vashi Police station.
To prevent the suicides the Vashi police had written several letters to Public Work Department to either put up a barbed wire fence along the bridge or increase the height of fencing however their efforts have not yielded results so far.