A MAN threw himself from the Scott Monument, landing just yards away from Christmas shoppers on Princes Street.
The man, believed to be in his 30s, jumped from the west side of the 200ft landmark, narrowly avoiding passers-by on the busy thoroughfare, in full view of nearby ice-skaters.
Thousands of visitors were packed into the Christmas market at the time, and some stalls were shut and parts of Princes Street Gardens closed for more than two hours following the suspected suicide at 1.30pm yesterday.
One woman, who did not want to be named, said her friend was on the viewing platform of the iconic monument when the man jumped.
She said: “He said he just climbed over the railings and jumped in front of everyone. He is very shocked. Everyone was. It’s a terrible thing to happen.”
But local councillors have dismissed the need for a safety overhaul at the popular tourist spot, though they promised a full investigation into how he climbed beyond the safety barriers.
War Falcon, 38, who runs a craft stall, initially thought there had been an accident on Princes Street.
“I was serving a customer when I heard a bang. I thought there had been a road accident,” he said. “Then people told me the man had jumped.
“Within five minutes, the police and ambulance came and blocked the road. They asked everyone to leave. It’s a very sad thing to happen, who knows what was going through his mind.”
Hundreds of people, many families with children, filed from the Christmas market following the incident.
Eyewitnesses described seeing police officers examining a note – suggesting the man had planned to take his own life.
The neighbouring children’s carousel was turned off while market staff on the closed Waverley Station side were confined to their booths. The entrance to the monument was also closed.
Brian Rodgers, 61, from Gracemount, was walking a friend’s dog through the park when it happened. “It’s shocking, particularly when all the kids are about for the Christmas market. I hope none of them saw it,” he said.
Liam Cowan, 24, who works on a hat stall in the market, said: “I heard the man jumped off the second level. It’s really unfortunate because it’s probably going to affect the monument with extra guards and safety measures.”
City centre councillor Joanna Mowat said her thoughts went to the man and his family.
She said: “The first thing has to be that we ensure that we ensure it is safe for normal purpose but if someone is determined to take their own life, there is little we can do.”
The market, which opened last weekend, was fully open again by 3.45pm.
A council spokeswoman said they had no concerns about safety at the landmark.
A Police Scotland spokesman said there were no suspicious circumstances surrounding the mans death.