On Thursday evening, French police out of Paris arrested a man who used a parachute to jump off of the iconic Eiffel Tower early that morning. According to local police, the man arrived at roughly 5:00 am local time and climbed the landmark’s four pillars in order to parachute off of the top of the tower. The moment is operated by Société d’Exploitation de la tour Eiffel or SETE. They told reporters that security detected the man “in less than a minute” upon entering the site.
The security detail did try to deter the man, but they were unable to stop him before he reached the top of the monument. Thus, he was able to leap off of the 984-foot structure, landing on the root of a nearby sports center building. It has since been reported by places such as The Local that none of the latticework was damaged, and the man was not injured after his jump. The issue led to the tower opening for visitors slightly later than normal on Thursday morning but all is fine now.
SETE has since issued a complaint against the offender, where they wrote:
“This type of irresponsible action endangers those working on or under the structure.”
Criminal charges are going to be brought against the currently unnamed man for trespassing as well as “endangering the lives of others,” according to local police.
However, this is not the only issue that the French police have dealt with revolving around their major tourist attraction in just the past week.
Multiple Issues Around The Eiffel Tower
Security has had its hands full with recent security breaches at the Eiffel Tower. During pre-opening rounds on Monday morning, security came across a pair of drunk American tourists who had actually spent the previous night in the tower. The two men, who were found asleep by security, were between the second and third levels of the tower. They were quickly removed and handed over to Paris police, according to SETE.
The Prosecutor’s officer in Paris said that the men had Sunday evening tickets for the attraction but had become “allegedly trapped there due to their excessive alcohol consumption.”
However, just a few days before this on Saturday, three floors of the tower and even its courtyard had to be evacuated for several hours. Apparently, there were two false bomb threats that had been posted online. The local bomb squad had to evaluate the tower to be sure everything was fine before they could allow anyone to come back in. The all-clear was given shortly after.
It seems that SETE and Paris police might need to be keeping a closer eye on what goes on at the Eiffel Tower. If not, they may continue to see problems happen.
The Parachute Man’s Journey Could Have Ended Worse
The man who jumped off of the Eiffel Tower was likely channeling his inner Franz Reichelt. His story did not turn out nearly as well as the man who recently jumped off the tower though. Notably, Reichelt was a tailor and inventor who had created an early version of a parachute that he felt could be used for pilots that needed to jump out of planes. His parachute was technically a parachute suit, which would remind you of what you see in wingsuits today.
Only, his suit was not made with the correct materials to be capable of handling things like wind or drag, as well as weight. However, Franz believed his parachute suit could work and was determined to prove it. He even tested out dummy models in his apartment building that seemed to turn out okay. Of course, this was the early 1900s and the height of new, crazy inventions. Therefore, he did not think about materials, indoors vs outdoors, and other common science we use today.
Franz was allowed to climb up and jump off of the structure in spite of many trying to talk him out of it. In 1912, he would jump and sadly landed flat on the ground, thereby leaping to his death. This is one reason why French officials do not allow such acts to happen, and even why they have security to prevent it as much as they possibly can. Franz leaped to his untimely death, but thankfully this most recent attempt did not turn out the same.