"Jump, jump, jump," crowd says as man commits suicide

The incident took place on the corner of Bree and Simmonds streets in central Johannesburg.

A man committed suicide from the fifth floor of the building in Johannesburg CBD on 4 December 2014. Picture: Deo Khoza.

JOHANNESBURG - An hour-long standoff ended in tragedy as a man, clutching his Bible, committed suicide by jumping off the fifth floor of a building.

The incident took place on the corner of Bree and Simmonds streets in central Johannesburg late on Thursday. Witnesses say the man climbed out the window shortly before 5pm before reading scriptures in front of a large group of onlookers.

"Jump, jump, jump," the crowd below shouted before the man plunged to his death, landing on the first floor.

A person inside the flats tried to grab the man but was unsuccessful.

Police, metro police and paramedics attended to the scene but the man was declared dead on the scene.

"It's incredibly sad that there are people egging people on to go die. I think we definitely need to question that as society," South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG)'s Cassey Chambers said.

"It takes it to a whole new level when you have people chanting jump, jump, jump. This person could be incredibly helpless and hopeless, who has a mental illness like depression," she added.

This is not the first time that such an incident has taken place, SADAG said.

The group mentioned an incident in Cape Town last year where a man tried to jump off the civic centre.

Chambers said people below and on social media were encouraging the man to jump.

All photos by Deo Khoza.