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France

Paris' Eiffel Tower evacuated after climber scales it

media The Eiffel Tower was evacuated Monday afternoon after someone scaled the face of it. J. SARMIENTO / AFP

Paris landmark the Eiffel Tower was shut down on Monday afternoon after someone tried to climb up one of its faces, according to the police.

."A climber has been detected. This is the usual procedure,” said the police source, adding that the person has to be prevented from scaling the tower and it has to be evacuated. No indication of the number of tourists evacuated was given.

With firefighters and police in place, the entrance was also evacuated.

The police said they were able to get in touch with the climber, but they were unaware of the reasons behind his actions.

 "A climber has been spotted. It's the standard procedure. We have to stop the person, and in that case we evacuate the tower," an official with the SETE operator said.

The esplanade underneath the monument was also evacuated, as was a large section of the adjacent Champ de Mars park.

"We kindly advise our visitors to postpone their visit," SETE added on Twitter.

  At around 5:30 pm (1530 GMT) firemen were trying to reach the climber, dressed in a black jacket, by rappelling down from the third-floor observation deck near the top.

Crowds of tourists remained in the area, hoping the tower would eopen soon.

"We're really disappointed, we're only here for a week and this messes with our whole programme," said Sylvie and Celine Forcier from Quebec.

Justin and Karen Smith, from Los Angeles, had celebrated their wedding Sunday in front of the tower, but were hoping to get to the top Monday. "We're disappointed," he said.

The tower is regularly the target of rogue freeclimbers hoping to scale one of the world's most famous structures, often for bragging rights.
 

But police have also been called in several times in recent years to try to thwart suicide attempts.

 In October 2017, a young man ventured out on one of the beams and threatened to jump before police were able to convince him to come back.

 In 2012, a British man managed to climb to the very top of the 324-metre-high tower before plunging to his death.
 

Nearly seven million people a year visit the tower, which last week celebrated its 130th anniversary.

 The first two floors can be reached by either elevator or stairs, but only elevators whisk people to the top observation deck.
 

That did not stop the French urban freeclimber Alain Robert from making it one of his first targets in his campaign to scale the world's biggest buildings with no technical climbing gear.

 He got to the top -- not including the antenna-- in the mid-1990s.

 

The last time the Eiffel Tower was completely evacuated was in October 2017 after a young man standing on one of the pillars was trying to commit suicide. Police were able to convince him not to jump.

The iconic tower celebrated its 130th anniversary this year, and remains the most visited monument worldwide with paid admission some seven million visitors a year.

 

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