PHILADELPHIA — Two thrill-seeking photographers who climbed to the top of the nearly 400-foot-tall (122-meter-tall) Ben Franklin Bridge were arrested after setting off motion detectors during their middle-of-the-night ascent, officials said.
The photographers, who wore all black clothing and carried backpacks full of camera gear, surrendered when a rescue team surrounded them atop one of the bridge’s towers around 1 a.m. Tuesday, said John Hanson, CEO of the Delaware River Port Authority, the agency that operates the bridge connecting downtown Philadelphia and Camden, New Jersey.
Hanson identified the climbers as Martin J. Romero-Clark, of New York City, and Andrew Lillibridge, of Toledo, Ohio. A search of their social media profiles shows multiple high-altitude images from around the world, including pictures from the tops of other bridges.
Hanson said they got to the top of the tower via the bridge’s suspension cables.
Romero-Clark and Lillibridge were charged with multiple felonies, Hanson said. Attempts to reach them through Facebook messages and by phone were unsuccessful. It was unclear if they had hired attorneys.
The road and the rail line that run along the bridge were closed off for more than an hour and a half, Hanson said, adding that he couldn’t recall another time when someone climbed to the top of the Ben Franklin Bridge to shoot photos.
More than 100,000 vehicles drive over the 91-year-old bridge every day, the Port Authority says.