2-Year-Old Girl Falls Through a Tiny Gap on Golden Gate Bridge and Plunges to Her Death; Fall is First Recorded in Bridge's 60 Year History

Witnesses said the father tried to grab 2-year-old Gauri Govil as she slipped through a gap between the walkway and traffic lanes.

``He ran to the curb where the steel girder is and tried to reach down but was unable to recover the child,'' California Highway Patrol Officer Steven Wheat said.

Gauri was walking with her 4-year-old brother and parents along the east span of the bridge, on the Marin County side, when the accident happened Sunday afternoon.

The youngster fell through a 9 1/2-inch gap, landing on a construction site below. The gap, barely visible to pedestrians, runs along a metal barrier that separates the sidewalk from the roadway.

She was pronounced dead at Children's Hospital in Oakland.

More than 1,200 people have jumped to their deaths from the span since it opened in 1937. But authorities said they could not recall anyone slipping through the gap.

San Francisco Supervisor Susan Leal, a Golden Gate Bridge board member, said she would meet with engineers this week to discuss whether improvements could be made to prevent further accidents.