Brooklyn Heights

False alarm on Brooklyn Bridge triggers search by air, land and sea

August 19, 2014 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Helicopter flies over Brooklyn Bridge

The NYPD received a report of someone climbing on the cables of the Brooklyn Bridge late Monday afternoon.

The perp was described as having red hair and wearing blue Bermuda shorts — a description which could only have been improved upon by the addition of a giant, polka-dotted bow tie.

Nonetheless, given the recent “white flag” scare carried out by a crack team of German artists, the situation merited a robust response by the NYPD’s aviation, marine and ground units.

Two helicopters, at least one police boat and one or more NYPD scooters responded to the scene.

The thousands of tourists on the bridge footpath — many of whom were tying scraps of paper and bits of plastic garbage bags to the historic span — seemed unaware of the drama playing out above their heads and below their feet.

One helicopter was observed hovering motionless, high in the air above the bridge, while another swooped back and forth above the cables and towers.

“Aviation did a canvass of both sides of the bridge — that’s a negative,” responders reported after about 20 minutes of swooping.

The scooter posts on the bridge also reported a negative on the sighting, as did the NYPD Marine unit, which carried out a canvass from the water.

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NYPD requested that the video cameras monitoring the bridge be checked for any sign of the red-haired man. Results appeared to be negative.

As this reporter and the helicopters left the bridge at 5:42 p.m., the New York State Department of Transportation sent out an electronic bulletin via NYalert.gov that the Brooklyn Bridge eastbound “has two lanes blocked at 5:42 p.m. due to police activity for up to two hours. Delays are back to Manhattan.”

Traffic was observed to be normal, however, and no lanes were blocked. When asked why the state reported delays when no delays were happening, one NYPD officer told the Brooklyn Eagle, “They probably got the wrong bridge. That happens all the time.”

This reporter did a walking canvass of the bridge one last time. No red-haired men wearing blue Bermuda shorts were observed.

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