Crime - Sacto 911

Spidey-like climb atop Sacramento’s Tower Bridge under investigation

A group climbs the Tower Bridge in this video image from Ruski Rasta on YouTube.
A group climbs the Tower Bridge in this video image from Ruski Rasta on YouTube.

Four young climbers scaled the Tower Bridge and posted their derring-do on YouTube earlier this week, prompting a Caltrans investigation that may eventually involve the federal government.

“We don’t have any information on who they could be,” Caltrans spokesman Dennis Keaton said of the climbers Wednesday.

The YouTube video was posted Monday under the title “Mission Possible: Sac Tower Bridge.” It shows four climbers in dark clothes, faces blurred, scaling the iconic lift bridge over the Sacramento River downtown.

“4 blurry thrill seekers decide to get super high on Saturday in Sacramento. Don’t do drugs kids, climb bridges. GoPro or stay amateur,” reads the caption for the online post.

GoPro is an apparent reference for the camera used to record the stunt. GoPro cameras can be attached via head straps or mounted on helmets for a first-person view of activities such as mountain biking, hang gliding – or climbing a bridge.

The Tower Bridge spans 737 feet across and 160 feet in the air. The bridge links West Sacramento to Capitol Mall.

On occasion, with bells sounding, the midsection of the bridge lifts for tall-masted river vessels. A bridge tender in his aerie above the roadway controls the lift.

Keaton said he “couldn’t say at this point” whether the bridge tender was on duty when the climbers scaled the illuminated bridge, built in 1935 in the Streamline Modern design. The video posted on YouTube is under the name Ruski Rasta.

“We are still conducting an investigation,” Keaton said. “We will end up not only having local and state law enforcement involved, but there’s a good chance Homeland Security will have to be notified.”

Keaton said he knew of no previous incident when climbers had made it up the Tower Bridge, though some more casual climbers have started the ascent, only to be scared off by the bridge tender. “That’s usually because they’re inebriated or just being silly,” he said.

The bridge is a state route and the climbers posed a possible threat to the structure, he said. However, the climbers did no damage to the span and did not cut any locks to mount the bridge.

The climbers scaled the outside of the bridge before getting on catwalks and apparently reaching the very top of one of the two towers. The camera captures the horizon of the illuminated horizon of downtown Sacramento as the climbers talk of their accomplishment.

“They had the cover of night,” Keaton said. “And they all wore dark clothes.”

The bridge has its own cameras but they are trained on the roadbed rather than on the superstructure itself.

Keaton said that it is difficult to prevent the defacement of certain state structures such as freeway signs that hang below overpasses. He also noted that on July 22, two American flags were stolen from atop the Brooklyn Bridge in New York and replaced by two white flags.

Call The Bee’s Bill Lindelof, (916) 321-1079.