Hillbrow Suicide: man's body dangles from building for hours before removal

Image: 123RF/cristinistor

The body of a 24-year-old man who allegedly committed suicide was left hanging from a high-rise building in Hillbrow, Johannesburg, yesterday for more than six hours, causing a public spectacle.

Hillbrow residents were left stunned when the man, who had allegedly hanged himself with a washing line, spent the entire day hanging from the roof of Sentinel block of flats.

The reasons for the alleged suicide were unclear, but neighbours close to his family and his girlfriend said he woke up in the middle of the night to take a phone call - and that was the last time his girlfriend saw him alive.

His brother, who did not want to be named, said the family was in great pain but had to put it aside to deal with recovering his body.

"My other brothers are also here, and we're waiting to see what happens next."

The man was said to be a Zimbabwean national.

Thandi Sibanda, who lives in the area, said she was traumatised to see the body of the man hanging from the roof the whole day.

"I took my child to school this morning and he was there. I came back to fetch my child from school and he was still there. It is traumatising and painful to see him."

A security guard said: "This morning we had people from neighbouring buildings come and tell us that there is a man hanging from the roof. He's been there the whole day."

Hillbrow police spokesman Sergeant Mduduzi Zondo said the body had not been taken down for a while because of the position he was hanging from.

He said police had to wait for experts with the necessary skills in removing bodies from such positions. He said the body was taken down by 3pm when emergency services personnel managed to get up to where it had been hanging.

Emergency Medical Services (EMS) spokeswoman Nana Radebe said they were called to the scene in the morning and handed the case over to the police.

She said EMS went back to the scene with a heavy rescue team to remove the body at 3pm. "It was difficult to remove him from where he was. We had to use a ladder to get to him," Radebe said.