Thu, Jun 07, 2018 - Page 6 News List

‘French Spiderman’ aborts ascent of Seoul skyscraper


French urban free climber Alain Robert scales the exterior of the 123-floor Lotte World Tower in Seoul yesterday.

Photo: AFP

French urban free climber Alain Robert yesterday attempted to scale the world’s fifth-tallest building, getting more than halfway up the 123-floor Lotte World Tower in Seoul before security forced him to abandon the ascent.

The 55-year-old, dubbed the “French Spiderman,” made his way up the building bare-handed and without ropes as staff pursued him from inside.

“I climbed about 75 stories and then after that, it was a bit like cat and mouse,” Robert told reporters. “Finally, I decided to surrender.”

He was taken to the rooftop on a maintenance cradle and arrested.

As he awaited processing by police he told reporters that his climb was to celebrate the recent peacemaking efforts between the two Koreas and that he hoped the authorities would take that into account.

“I may get a hefty fine ... but I did it because of what is happening now between South Korea and North Korea,” Robert said. “That is my way of saying thank you to [North Korean leader] Kim Jong-un and [South Korean President] Moon Jae-in.”

In the past two months the leader of nuclear-armed North Korea has twice met the South’s president, the two men exchanging smiles and hugs after years of heightened tensions.

Robert has scaled more than 100 structures without ropes or other safety equipment, setting a Guinness World Record for “most buildings climbed unassisted.”

His successes include many of the world’s tallest skyscrapers and iconic buildings, such as the Eiffel Tower, the Sydney Opera House, the Petronas Twin Towers in Kuala Lumpur and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, United Arab Emirates — where he used suction devices and a safety rope as it has no hand or footholds.

Several fire trucks and police were sent to the Seoul building after a security guard spotted the French climber.

“It’s regrettable,” Lotte World Tower spokesman You In-sik said. “He climbed without permission. It’s dangerous.”

Robert has suffered several severe falls while climbing and estimates his accidents have left him 66 percent disabled. He has been arrested numerous times for his exploits.

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