Danube fisherman hero

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The Danube fisherman who has saved 29 suicide jumpers





Putting her backpack down, she climbed over the fence and jumped into the rushing waters of the Danube below. The 16-year-old girl was the 29th attempted suicide to be saved by Renato Grbic, a Belgrade fisherman and restaurant owner.

On that October day “she was lucky that I was nearby with a friend to pull her out,” her rescuer said; an athletic 55-year-old.

Built in 1946, Pancevo Bridge has the notorious distinction of being a hot spot for Belgrade’s most desperate.

Until 2014, the road and rail bridge was the only crossing point over the Danube River in the Serbian capital.

The might Danube usually conjures up visions of epic waterway tours through enchanting European countryside in some of the 10 countries it flows through.

But Europe’s second-longest river will carry anyone who wants to jump into it for many kilometres, and in winter its temperature is barely above freezing point.

“Life expectancy before fatal hypothermia is 15 to 20 minutes,” said Grbic, whose family of river fishermen has lived at their waterside residence for four generations.

On the section where his tavern “At Renato and Goca” is located, the Danube is almost a kilometre wide. In the winter mist, it is hard to make out the other side of the bank.

Every year, the authorities register 25 to 30 suicide attempts off Belgrade bridges.

“But these are only registered cases,” said Sasa Knezevic, deputy chief of Belgrade’s river police unit, adding the figures peak toward the end of the summer.

Police usually act to prevent suicides when they spot potential cases through video surveillance, but the closest river police station is about 15 minutes upstream, said Grbic.

Grbic said he spends 90 percent of his time fishing. His 29 rescues of Pancevo Bridge jumpers span nearly two decades, and his efforts have won him official recognition.

A wall in his restaurant is adorned with elaborate certificates for bravery awarded by local authorities, as well as newspaper articles about him.

He was also among around 200 Serb nationals recognised for their outstanding achievements in 2008.

Serbia is in the top third of European countries in terms of suicide rates, at 16.8 per 100,000 inhabitants. This is according to the most recent World Health Organisation data for 2012.

Grbic believes that most suicide attempts are a cry for help since, he says, most jump in the daytime.

“They want to be seen, they want to alert,” he said.

He often wonders about what has become of those he has saved.

But only two young women out of the 29 got back in touch.

One of them, now a mother, “understood that life was worth much more than what she wanted to do.”

A psychiatrist who once came to the restaurant “told me that … those people were eternally grateful but were embarrassed to face me.”

“Nevertheless, I would really like to know something about them … that I offered them a second life and that they kept living,” he said.

ドナウ川で飛び込み自殺を図る人たちの命を救う漁師 単語

rushing waters – 勢いの激しい流れ・has … of – 〜として悪名高い・desperate – 絶望した人々・conjures up – 〜を想起させる・epic – 壮大な・enchanting – 魅惑的な・hypothermia – 低体温・tavern – 居酒屋・make out – 〜を見分ける・video surveillance – ビデオ監視・span – 〜にわたる・have … recognition – 公式に認められている・is adorned with – 〜で飾られている・elaborate – 精巧な・cry for help – 助けを求める叫び・alert – 警報を発する・what … of – 〜はどうなったのか・psychiatrist – 精神科医・eternally grateful – 心から感謝する・nevertheless – それでもなお

If you’re interested in learning vocabulary through news and current affairs, check back every Saturday for another article!

The aim of the articles is to be short enough to easily digest, whilst still providing some important new words. Furthermore, we deliberately choose topics that you’ve probably heard in the news already. This makes them relatable and easier to understand. Could you tell your teacher about this news story, in English? Try to practice recounting the story, or even rewriting it in your own words. Afterwards, you can show it to your teacher for correction. Additionally, you could also try a translation of the article. This is an intellectually stimulating exercise which is both fun and great practice for understanding the different ways of thinking between English and Japanese. Finally, please remember to have fun learning English! The most rewarding thing for us at Michael’s English School is seeing your results. See you next time!

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