Suicidal Golden Gate Bridge Climber Arrested After 16 Hour Ordeal

A man who climbed San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and spent the entirety of the foggy night atop the south tower, was taken into custody by law enforcement officials early Friday morning.

The man had climbed the bridge late Thursday, disrupting traffic. He threatened suicide and told police officers that he had a gun, forcing authorities to shut down pedestrian and bicycle lanes and close the bridge entirely twice, reports the Pasadena Star. The California Highway Patrol SWAT unit took the bridge elevator up 746 feet above the San Francisco Bay to arrest the climber, who turned out to be unarmed.

Thick fog cover prevented authorities from tracking the would-be jumper, stretching the incident into a grueling 16-hour ordeal, reports the Christian Post. “I can’t believe he stayed up there overnight,” said one onlooker. “It seems impossible, it’s so cold.”

The climber’s apparent infiltration of the Golden Gate Bridge under security measures has troubled some authorities since the incident, who wonder if the bridge is vulnerable to terrorist attack.

Bridge authorities said that while they will be spending the next several days studying the bridge’s security systems for flaws, all of the systems in place worked. “All those systems worked as planned. What didn’t work was that someone got over, under or through the barriers,” said Kary Witt, the bridge manager. “It certainly should be difficult for someone to do what he did, and it is difficult.”

It may furrow many a security-sensitive brow, but one man’s lucky infiltration doesn’t mean that the Golden Gate Bridge is vulnerable to terrorist attacks, reports the SFGate. “It doesn’t really concern me that much, because I want to know what he could have really done,” said Henry Willis, associate director of the Rand Homeland Security and Defense Center. “Now, if he could have gotten an entire truck of explosives in there, that would be a different story. But he couldn’t.”


The climber, described by police as “homeless” and “disturbed” was taken to the psychiatric ward at San Francisco General Hospital for observation.

Oh, and just in case you’ve thought of climbing the bridge yourself, here’s what it looks like at the top of the Golden Gate Bridge, via National Geographic.

Golden Gate Bridge top

Just stay home.