About The Bridge And Our Mission
The Rio Grande Gorge Bridge is one of America’s highest and most famous bridges, the route 64 crossing of the Rio Grande near Taos, New Mexico was completed in 1965. It is 565 feet from road deck level to the normal surface level of the river. It is a popular scenic destination spot for tourists visiting the area, and unfortunately, because the rails on the bridge are so low, it sadly has also become a popular destination for suicides. Very little has been done to make the bridge safer or to deter future suicides since it was built 51 years ago. Crisis hotline phones were installed on the bridge in 2015, but it still hasn't been enough. There have been several more recent suicides since the phones were installed.
￼On the morning of April, 29th of 2014, my beautiful son Cooper Beacom took his own life by jumping off the Rio Grande Gorge Bridge. He was only 23 years old.
That morning, I went to the bridge with Cooper's 16-year old brother Keaun, and Cooper's best friend Bowdy. We tried to rescue him, but unfortunately, we were unsuccessful. The three of us horrifyingly witnessed him jump over an inadequate railing, falling to his death.
Cooper genuinely loved his family and friends, he was generous and caring and loved life. He was not the type of person that anyone could have imagined would commit suicide. He was having a bad moment, and the bridge made the momentary thought of ending his life become a horrible reality because there are not safety barriers and it was just too easy to jump. A split second bad decision ended his life. Words cannot explain the pain left behind from this tragedy.
Since that horrible day in 2014, there have been numerous more suicide jumps. Since the bridge was built there have been hundreds of suicides at the bridge. It has been a suicide magnet destination for people from across the country.
We have formed the Gorge Bridge Safety Network in Cooper’s memory with hopes that we can make sure that better safety barriers are installed, to prevent more tragedies continuing on into our future. Attempts have been made in the past to get safety barriers added, but unfortunately, none have succeeded.
Our mission at The Gorge Bridge Safety Network is to implement solutions to make this beautiful landmark bridge, a safer place for everyone.
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News And Updates
Margaret Oconnor Day 2 Saturday, September 3, 2016 9:00am 1:00pm KTAO Station to Gorge Bridge Taos, NM, 87571 Pilgrimage to Gorge Bridge from KTAO Radio Station Join the community for the pilgrimage at KTAO Radio Station (9 am) or meet us at the Gorge Bridge at noon. We will be tying hundreds of prayer flags […]
Recent story in Taos News as of 08/12/2016 Link