Wednesday, March 21, 2007

'Spiderman' returns... and nabbed

KUALA LUMPUR: Ten years after he caused a stir by attempting to scale the 88-storey Petronas Twin Towers, "Spiderman" Alain Robert was back at it again.

And the Frenchman’s second attempt yesterday ended the way his first did in 1997 — with the authorities stopping him on the 60th floor.

Wearing a yellow shirt emblazoned with the words "Petronas Twin Tower 1 - 20th March 1997, Ten Years, Petronas Twin Tower 2 - 20th March 2007", the daredevil, who climbed without any gear, started his ascent at Tower 2 at 3.05pm.

However, he was stopped by the authorities who persuaded him to end his stunt. Robert agreed, but not before unfurling a Jalur Gemilang to the cheers of 500 onlookers below.

His stunt resulted in the police cordoning off the area below Tower 2, while a helicopter hovered nearby.

Fire and Rescue Department operations commander Christopher Chong said the department had received a call at 3.20pm.

"When we reached the scene about 3.45pm, he was already at the 55th floor. We decided to stop him on the 60th because there’s a ledge there.

"When he was at the 59th floor, he saw us and tried to move away but we managed to convince him to give up," Chong said, adding that Robert was taken away by the police.

Robert has climbed over 65 buildings around the world, including the Eiffel Tower, London’s Canary Wharf building, New York’s Empire State Building and Chicago’s Sears Tower.

Speaking to the New Straits Times, Robert said he initially wanted to climb at 8am to avoid people noticing, but the morning rain disrupted his plan.

"I don’t want to wait for the next day as the anniversary of my previous climb is today, so I decided to wait for an appropriate time," he said.

Robert, who was brought to the Dang Wangi district police headquarters, was well prepared for his arrest this time around.

In less than an hour, a group of his friends, including a Datuk and a lawyer, arrived at the police station to help him.

It was clear the 44-year-old was enjoying the attention and he was jubilant over his achievement — he even asked for champagne from one of his friends.

One of his close friends said Robert was a persistent person.

"He will not stop until he reaches the top of the Petronas Twin Towers and he will keep on trying," he said, adding that Robert had tried to get permission from the tower management.

Dang Wangi district police chief ACP Mohd Zulkarnain Abdul Rahman said Robert was detained for trespassing.

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