2 photographers charged after climbing atop Ben Franklin Bridge

PENN’S LANDING (WPVI) —

For 103 minutes overnight, the Ben Franklin Bridge was closed to traffic, while up above a rescue was underway.

The Delaware River Port Authority’s intrusion detection systems went off at 12:50 a.m. Tuesday.

Two men were climbing up the bridge’s cable. They were dressed in black and wearing backpacks containing photography equipment.

Delaware River Port Authority officers, the Philadelphia Fire Department and the Philadelphia Police Marine Unit responded.

Authorities on the scene turned on some big lights.

“And when the lights went on, the trespassers, the intruders, laid down and waited for our officers to apprehend them,” said the CEO of The Delaware River Port Authority John Hanson.

But it was seven members of the Port Authority’s highly trained high-angle rescue team who harnessed up and apprehended the men from the tower.

Photographers Martin J. Romero-Clark, 30, from New York and Andrew Lillibridge, 20, from Toledo, Ohio were charged and processed in Camden County.

The bridge, by the way, is 135 feet above the river. The towers are 382 feet tall.

Sgt. John Santry was on that the high angle rescue team for 19 years.

“Listen, we have to go get them. We don’t have any choice in the matter. So we’re putting officers at risk for something that’s pretty needless,” he said.

Social media posts show the two trespassers make it a hobby to climb high rises and bridges to capture photos from high-risk angles. This time, they got caught.

“The put the commuters and they put themselves in grave danger. I am angry about that and we will prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law,” said Hanson.

People we spoke with about the incident were left shaking their heads.

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