Man scales Sydney Harbour Bridge, sparking alert

A man sits under the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in this screengrab taken from a video on June 17, 2016.
A man sits under the arch of the Sydney Harbour Bridge in this screengrab taken from a video on June 17, 2016. PHOTO: REUTERS
The Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooking the city.
The Sydney Harbour Bridge overlooking the city.PHOTO: TOURISM NEW SOUTH WALES

SYDNEY (AFP) – A man scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge Friday, sparking traffic chaos, before being coaxed down by police negotiators and arrested.

Reports said he got out of a taxi in the middle of the busy bridge and began climbing a pillar of the giant structure, which has its own security amid fears it could be a potential terror target.

Ian Wallace from the Traffic Management Network said the man went up about 75 metres (246 feet) and refused to come down.

“We have this person, he’s climbed up onto the Harbour Bridge, I can actually see him sitting up there at the moment,” he told ABC radio at the time.

Television pictures showed a man, who appeared to be middle-aged, sitting within an arch on the iconic iron landmark, dubbed the “coat hanger” by locals.

Police said in a statement that emergency services descended on the scene, closing several lanes of city-bound traffic in Australia’s largest city as negotiators worked to bring him down.

He eventually returned to the ground on his own accord after almost two hours, where he was arrested and taken to hospital for a medical assessment.

No charges have yet been laid.

Security on the bridge was boosted in 2011 after a man paralysed rush-hour traffic for hours by scaling it to hang two banners in a protest linked to a custody dispute over his children.