The iconic Eiffel Tower in Paris, France was closed for hours and was shut down to visitors on Sunday after a terrorism scare sparked fear in the city that is already on the highest state of vigilance alert.
The suspects were seen scaling the Eiffel Tower at about 5.30am on Sunday morning, after which the alarm was raised and the French police sprung into action.
Anti-terror police quickly cordoned off the landmark and visitors were moved away from the Tower and onto the banks of the nearby River Seine. The police on ground were assisted by a helicopter, but despite the heavy security presence, the suspects could not be seized.
The Eiffel Tower attracts approximately seven million visitors a year and is the most visited paid for monument in the world, making it a perfect target for terrorist organizations. Although the Tower has been frequently threatened by terrorist groups such as ISIS and al- Qaeda, the Eiffel Tower is also frequently scaled by extreme sportsmen. After no one was found following heavy security and police presence, it was thought that the suspects has been extreme sportsmen and had escaped by parachute. ‘They were said to have large rucksacks so no chances could be taken. They completely disappeared, so enquiries are centered on them being extreme parachutists’ said a police source.
The Eiffel Tower was closed for a total of five hours and was reopened at 2pm following thorough security checks. The closure was thought to have cost hundreds of thousands of pounds in lost revenue. Police are still searching the area for the suspects.