PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Traffic on the Ben Franklin Bridge is back to normal Tuesday morning after a little drama overnight.
Authorities were called to the bridge after two men climbed up one of the bridge towers and got stuck.
“We observed two individuals that were climbing the cable and they actually got to the top of the tower, they were dressed in black and they were carrying backpacks,” says DRPA CEO John Hanson.
Not knowing if they were jumpers, graffiti artists or even terrorists – multiple agencies responded, including the Delaware River Port Authority’s high angle rescue team.
CBS3’s cameras arrived in time to see officers climbing the cables to arrest the suspects. Officials say the men’s backpacks contained photography equipment and they told police they were there to take pictures from the top of the bridge – a height of nearly 400 feet.
“At best it’s stupid and reckless,” says Hanson, “These are important public transportation assets and we are charged with protecting them and the people who use them and work on them. We take that very, very seriously,” Hanson said.
Andrew Lillibridge from Toledo, Ohio, and Martin Romero Clark, of New York City both face third degree felony charges of criminal mischief and interfering with transportation.
Lillibridge’s father confirmed the arrest and his son’s online portfolio to Eyewitness News.
He says his son grew up afraid of heights but challenged himself to climb higher and higher as he explored photography. His Instagram shows other photos taken from tall heights.
Some bridge walkers were amazed at the men’s willingness to climb so high but didn’t support their actions.
“I think it’s just completely irresponsible, you’re taking your life, you don’t know who else you’re endangering,” says Christina Nosek, after walking down the bridge on the Philadelphia side Tuesday afternoon.
“I think there’s a value in trying to get art but I think when you put people at risk and it’s just insane going that high,” says bridge walker Justin Dolci.