PARIS >> The Eiffel Tower was evacuated and closed down today after a man began scaling the Paris monument, eventually stopping his climb near the top but apparently refusing to come down.
Some five hours after he was spotted, the man was seen standing in the ironworks just under the third and highest level of the monument. A rescuer dressed in red could be seen nestled nearby, interacting with him.
A Paris police spokeswoman said earlier that a team of firefighters including climbing specialists was on the scene and in touch with the intruder, whose motivations remain unclear.
Police said no further information was available.
It wasn’t immediately clear how the trespasser managed to get past the Eiffel Tower’s stringent security system.
Tourists, including people dining on the second level, said on French TV that they had been ordered to evacuate when it was learned that someone was scaling the monument.
It’s not the first time someone has attempted to climb up the tourist attraction. In 2015, British “freerunner” James Kingston climbed the edifice without safety ropes and without permission, dodging security cameras as he went.
However, as time passed it became increasingly unlikely that today’s incident was a prank or a challenge.
The tower, the tallest structure in Paris, is 1,063 feet high, about the same height as an 81-story building.