Pictures show a couple mounting the guardrail of a bridge and throwing themselves off.
This is the moment a photographer captured a lovers’ suicide leap.
The cameraman had been standing on a viewing platform ready to take a snap of the fog shrouded Wuhan Yangtze River in Wuhan, at Hubei province in central China, when he saw the couple leap off the bridge.
The man, who was not identified, said: “To be honest I didn’t even see the first person jump because I was concentrating so much on the camera settings and I didn’t realize at first that I had snapped the man jumping to his death.”
It was only after taking the photo that the photographer heard someone shout “there is a person in the river!”.
A person climbs on the railing before jumping off the Wuhan Yangtze River Bridge in Hubei.
The photographer added: “I heard him hit the water below and then seconds later a woman climbed onto the bridge and jumped as well.
“I was totally paralyzed and there was no way I could get anywhere near her.
“I still had my hand on the camera and I tensed and shot off another few frames entirely by accident, but ended up photographing the woman as well.”
Police identified the man from some of the possessions he left on the bridge, which included an identity card naming him as Liu Han, a 20-year-old migrant worker from Huangpo district’s Caidian town, located in Wuhan.
It was believed that the girl, who has not yet been identified, was his lover. It was not known why the pair had made a pact to throw themselves to their deaths.
Mr. Han’s uncle said that he knew the young man was struggling to make a living and could only assume that it was money that was the problem, as without an income it would have been difficult for him to settle down with the young woman.
Police who searched the river failed to find either of the bodies and after dark the search was called off.
A police spokesman added: ‘That is a 40 metre drop – it is extremely unlikely that either of them are still alive.’
Suicide rates among young people are high in China, where a person tries to kill themselves every two minutes, the government says.
According to the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, China’s suicide rate is 22.23 people out of every 100,000.
About 287,000 people kill themselves in the country of 1.3 billion every year, while about two million try to commit suicide annually.
The disease control centre said suicide is the biggest killer among Chinese aged 15 to 34.
Extreme pressure to perform well at school and to find employment were the main reasons behind the high rate of suicide among China’s youths, media said.
The suicide rate in rural areas is three times higher than in urban centres and accounts for 75 per cent of China’s suicide total, it said.
According to the Guangzhou Daily, the number of suicides in China has risen sharply during the reform and open period, when the nation’s economy has boomed and tall buildings and structures like buildings have been built.
Many spots such as the Wuhan Yangtze bridge have been dubbed a ‘lovers’ leap’ after the number of couple who have committed suicide there.
In 2009, the British medical journal The Lancet identified Lithuania, Finland, Latvia, Hungary, China, Japan and Kazakhstan as all having exceptionally high rates of suicide, 20 per 100,000 people or higher.