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FHP corporal talks down suicidal man on Skyway

(ran ET edition of Tampa & State)

A Florida Highway Patrol corporal talked down a man who was sitting on the edge of the Sunshine Skyway bridge Friday afternoon, contemplating suicide.

Cpl. Gary Schluter spoke with the man for 30 to 40 minutes as the man sat on a wall at the top of the Skyway on the southbound side, his legs dangling over the side, the Highway Patrol said.

Schluter finally persuaded the man to come down about 3:30 p.m.

The man was taken to St. Anthony's Hospital, where he was confined under the Baker Act for a psychiatric examination, said FHP Sgt. Hall Fruik.

"He did an excellent job," the sergeant said of Schluter.

The suicidal man, in his late 20s, was upset about bills and family problems. His name wasn't released.

Last May, FHP Trooper James C. Covert talked distraught people out of jumping off the Skyway three times in four days.