The 14-year-old boy who died after jumping from The Vessel at Hudson Yards in New York City earlier this week was laughing, running and playing with his younger sister right before his leap.
A security guard who witnessed the incident said the siblings appeared to be having a lot of fun.
‘There were lots of tourists around. The kid was racing up the stairs with his younger sister and having a blast,’ the guard told the New York Post.
The New Jersey teen – who has not been named – leapt from the eighth floor of the 150-foot structure just before 1pm Thursday during a visit with his parents, sister and grandmother.
A teenager has died after jumping from The Vessel, pictured, at Hudson Yards in New York City
The teen’s death is the fourth suicide from the structure since it opened two years ago
The guard said that while they were playing, workers advised the siblings to slow down.
‘One of my colleagues told them, ‘I know it’s fun and stuff, but you are not allowed to run in the Vessel,’ and, ‘Stay with your parents.’ Somehow, when he got to Level Eight, he jumped,’ the guard explained.
The worker said their ‘heart just dropped’ when the boy leapt.
‘I heard the impact,’ the guard shared. ‘I saw his parents after. The lady panicked. She was screaming and crying. The father was speechless. The sister was crying.’
Police told the newspaper the teen had a history of depression and had previously attempted suicide.
The family is holding a funeral on Saturday, the Post reported. His loved ones said they are working together to get through the tragedy.
‘We’re dealing with it. These things are never easy,’ a family friend is quoted saying. ‘He was a very sweet kid, very smart.’
The Vessel has been closed since the teen’s death and will remain that way indefinitely as officials investigate the incident.
The Vessel has been closed since the boy’s death, as indicated by a sign placed at the property
The Vessel also announced the temporary closure on their website (pictured). However, developers are considering make the closure permanent
‘We are heartbroken by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of the young person who lost their life. We are conducting a full investigation,’ Kimberly Winston, a spokesperson for Hudson Yards, told People.
The boy’s death marks the fourth suicide at the $200million tourist attraction since it opened in March 2019. Now, the Vessel’s billionaire developer is considering closing the structure for good.
‘We thought we did everything that would really prevent this,’ developer Stephen Ross said to The Daily Beast on Thursday. ‘It’s hard to really fathom how something like that could happen. But you know, I feel terrible for the family.’
The tourist attraction had reopened just two months ago after it was closed following the three other suicides.
New rules were recently drawn up in an effort to prevent further suicides including a ban on solo visitors with a minimum of two people per visit. Staff were also placed about the structure looking for individuals in distress.
Crime scene tape can be seen around the perimeter of The Vessel on Thursday afternoon
Paramedics from the FDNY can be seen walking towards the area where the teenager fell
A body bag can be seen being placed in the coroners van outside The Vessel at Hudson Yards
There was even ‘enhanced guest engagement and screening procedures to detect high-risk behaviors among visitors’ which was supposed to ‘significantly enhance the safety of the experience.’
The size of the staff and security force was tripled, and signs were put up offering help to people in distress with positive messaging created with Lady Gaga’s Born This Way Foundation and the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline.
Ross explained that the attraction is to be closed while the discussions take place over whether it should ever reopen.
‘I want to see every possibility we can do. I mean, we thought we had covered everything.’
However, Lowell Kern, chair of Manhattan Community Board 4, told the news outlet that he believes officials could have ‘raised the height of the barriers, and that would have prevented this tragedy. For reasons unknown to us they decided not to do that.’
Stephen Ross, the billionaire real estate developer said on Thursday that the Vessel would be closed indefinitely while the developers assess how to move forward
The 14-year-old boy was said to have leaped from the eight floor just before 1pm. Pictured, members of the emergency services can be seen standing close to wear the boy fell
The Vessel was shut down for the day while police conducted their investigation
Officials with the FDNY EMT can be see standing close to the shuttered tourist attraction
Solo visitors were already banned from the structure, after it was revealed that each of the suicide victims climbed the Vessel on their own
The teen involved during Thursday’s jump was with four members of his family.
‘A family of five doesn’t fit any profile,’ Ross said.
‘We are heartbroken by this tragedy and our thoughts are with the family of the young person who lost their life,’ spokeswoman Kimberly Winston said. ‘We are conducting a full investigation.’
Officers from the NYPD were quickly on scene together with paramedics but there was nothing that could be done for the teen.
A construction worker who was nearby at the time said he heard a ‘bang’ as the boy landed on the ground.
Investigation tents can be seen erected over the spot where the teenager landed
The area was quickly roped off with crime scene tape following the suicide on Thursday
Members of the NYPD and coroner’s van are seen on site shortly after the boy’s death
‘That’s not a sound I’ll ever forget,’ Anthony DeMayo said to the New York Post. ‘It’s horrifying that this keeps happening. You can see looking at the barriers that they’re easy enough to climb over.’
One tourist said there was very little security guards could do to prevent determined jumpers.
‘Once you’re inside nobody makes you stay close to your buddy. There are a couple of security guards on every level, but if you want to jump there’s no way anyone can really stop you,’ Irina Popov explained.
The Vessel opened in March 2019, and quickly became of the Big Apple’s hot new tourist attractions, boasting hundreds of thousands of visitors.
But tragedy struck just 11 months after its opening, when 19-year-old Connecticut college student Peter DeSalvo, leapt to his death off the structure’s 16th story in front of dozens of tourists.
DeSalvo, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was a freshman at Sacred Heart University where he also played rugby.
Peter DeSalvo, 19, leapt to his death off the structure’s 16th story in front of dozens of tourists in February 2020. DeSalvo, of Basking Ridge, New Jersey, was a freshman at Sacred Heart University where he also played rugby
On December 22, Yocheved Gourarie, 24 (left and right), died by suicide at the Vessel. She posthumously shared a suicide note in a scheduled Instagram post
On January 11, Franklin Washington, 21, jumped to his death.
He had been wanted for the murder of a 55-year-old woman in San Antonio, Texas,
A month earlier, Yocheved Gourarie, 24, of Brooklyn, jumped on December 21.
The following day, her apparent suicide note was shared in a posthumous scheduled post on her Instagram account.
Gourarie then wrote: ‘Hey. This is pretty surreal isn’t it? One might say uncomfortable. Jarring. Just close the app now if you want. I guess if you don’t know by now you should probably sit down.
‘If you’re reading this, I’m gone. Either that or somehow incapacitated in the hospital so I can’t delete this scheduled post. I really hope I’m not though.’
In the post, she acknowledged posting her suicide note would likely cause her parents pain.
‘I don’t want to do that, I just want to leave my last mark on this world,’ Gourarie wrote.
‘All of you have made my life so much more full, brighter, and happier than it would have been without you. Your support, your encouragement, your hugs, your invitations, your smiles, your texts, your tagging me in memes you think I’d find funny.’
She ended the post by writing ‘I love you.’
The Vessel was created by British designer Thomas Heatherwick and opened in March 2019 and cost an eye-watering $200million.
Concerns previously had previously been raised about the Vessel’s chest-height railings, with Audrey Wachs, the former associate editor of The Architect’s Newspaper, writing in 2016: ‘when you build high, folks will jump.’
For confidential support call the National Suicide Prevention Line on 1-800-273-8255
A police car is seen outside the Vessel following the third suicide in January