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Train drivers plead against suicide on the tracks

DDP/The Local · 22 Nov 2009, 14:03

Published: 22 Nov 2009 14:03 GMT+01:00

After national football goalkeeper Robert Enke killed himself on November 10 by putting himself in the path of a train, increased attention has been focussed on clinical depression, from which he suffered.

But Lutz Schreiber, head of the drivers’ union in northern Germany told weekly magazine Focus that it should also be recognised that choosing to use a train to commit suicide was unfair.

He said the decision to commit suicide was “a private decision which must be respected.” But he added, “Train drivers suffer terribly when the railway is abused in this way to take life.”

Statistics show that train drivers could expect to be unwillingly involved in two or three suicides during their career, he said.

The shock, horror and feelings of guilt experienced by train drivers put in this position were not to be underestimated, he added.

This was also mentioned during a church service shortly after Enke’s death. Hannover state evangelical bishop Margot Käßmann said, “We cannot pretend otherwise – this is a very brutal death.”

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She called for those at the service to consider train drivers. “Our counsellors could tell you much about what it means to be such a train driver, or to have to collect body parts after such an accident. That must in no way be made to look better than it is.”

Adolf Merckle, a billionaire businessman whose business empire which included pharmaceutical firm Ratiopharm, killed himself early this year by throwing himself in front of a train after his company hit serious financial problems.

DDP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

04:42 November 23, 2009 by parografik
"Hmmm...opportunism...I wonder if the train drivers' union is planning on negotiations soon."

It's a shame this should be starting the discussion. I know a number of conductors on our commuter line, and they say this (suicide by train) is inevitable, but dreaded by all of the engineers. They recently did an article on this in our local paper (NY Newsday), which said pretty much what this Union is asserting. I certainly don't see it as "opportunism," but perhaps a desperate plea that hopefully echoes in the thoughts of of people trying to leave this world, whatever the reason for that might be.

Happened to hear one terribly competent but arrogant person say recently, upon hearing the news of an excellent local doctor's botched suicide attempt, "he even screwed that up." I find this type of talk not just slanderous, but more importantly, dismissive of the life of this wonderful doctor and the unknown circumstances of his situation and life. There but for the grace...
08:26 November 23, 2009 by Johnne
I beg my western brothers and sisters to stop this disastrous act. I´m half nigerian/german & what I found amazing the last time I went to africa after loosing a girlfriend in the UK to sucide was that, even though the level of peverty/hardship in some parts of the continent, commiting sucide is a "no-go area" no one sees it as a solution..or something to even think of. I believe we can learn from one another as-per mental strength. Some people don´t even have 3square meals over there, they still make sure they hustle & survive.Thanx
00:41 November 24, 2009 by Stuart1977
'By all means kill yourself, just go and do it somewhere else'
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