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Parasailor Rescued After Becoming Stuck on Statue of Liberty

Aired August 23, 2001 - 09:53   ET


DARYN KAGAN, CNN ANCHOR: Once again, more live pictures for you from New York City in a stunt gone wrong. A parasailor who, as we understand, had an original plan to parasail with this motorized parasail to New Jersey to the Statue of Liberty and then we heard wanted to bungee off of the Statue of Liberty. As we heard, the plan has not gone well, and the person is stuck up on there. We are getting word that one police at least is up there in torch of the Statue of Liberty.

STEPHEN FRAZIER, CNN ANCHOR: Actually, we could see more than one for a while, and it's not clear what they are going to try to do with them.

KAGAN: Let's go ahead and listen in to WCBS that's is covering it from New York.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: ... moved away from the base of the statue, just in case anything happens with that.

Again, this all began sometime around 9:30 this morning, when this paraglider went to the torch of the Statue of Liberty. We have seen a person here on this powerglider in the process of trying to hook themselves up. You may be able to see their arms moving around. And as we watch the situation unfold here, we do not know what caused this, whether it was some sort of stunt or possibly just a person in a powerglider that had some kind of accident. All of this will be under investigation once the police here can secure this scene.

The people that you see at the top of the torch, those are park police. They were the first ones to get up to the top of the torch, and try to find out what is exactly happening here as we monitor this situation here. We understand nobody on the ground was injured. We have not been aware of any falling debris as we watch more officials arrive into this scene. We can see the person still hanging from this power glider, trying to secure a rope. Actually a few ropes have now been dropped to them. That's the police department, New York Police Department helicopter that you just saw fly through the picture.

We do not believe that they will not attempt an aerial rescue at this time. That will be determined once the rescue workers to determine if that's the best course ever action or pull the person up from the top of the torch. Of course, if necessary, that helicopter will be brought in closer and try to drop a line to the person as well. But we have already seen that from the police, the park police have entered the top of the torch.

You can see the parachute, the parasail, draped over the top of the torch. That appears to be the main thing that is securing this glider to the torch at this time. You can see the person here, still sitting on the glider, attempting to tie a rope to themselves, and then the police that are on the top of the torch will have to pull themselves up.

Just repeating what we know about this situation at this time, it happened around 9:30 this morning, this powerglider landing on the top of the torch of the Statue of Liberty. You can see the person now tugging on the line. A short time ago, this rope was lowered down to them. We have gotten no reports of injuries to people on the ground. No debris, that we are aware of, has fallen on the ground either.

However, officials have moved everybody away from the base of the statue as a precaution, and as we watch, they are still trying to secure this person to a rope that they have lowered down to them.

We were told initially that the person was in no imminent danger, that there was no immediate danger of the powerglider that they were on falling. But officials do want to secure that as soon as possible to prevent any further damage from happening, if any damage has occurred at that time.

We have not been able to distinguish any damage to the statue itself. Of course, that will all be determined later on, once they can secure this person. That is their first priority, the park's police and the New York City police department trying to rescue this person, who has been dangling off of the torch of the Statue of Liberty for the past almost a half hour now. And as we watch the situation still continues to unfold here, this is breaking news, live pictures from Chopper 2 at the Statue of Liberty. Sometime around 9:30 this morning is when this all began.

Now, as we watch the situation still continue to unfold, we have not seen the person attempt to pull themselves out of this powerglider just yet. We are not sure exactly what the course of action will be, whether they will to try to pull the whole glider itself up, or just the person that was onboard.

We do not know the identity of the person that was in this powerglider. And again that's a New York City police department helicopter that you just saw fly through the show. The police department, the fire department, and the park's police are all here on the scene monitoring the situation. We have seen several people go to the top of the torch, trying to pull this person up. And that red object that you see draped over the torch, that was some kind of parashoot. What they were in was some kind of powerglider, some sort of parashoot with a propulsion unit that the person will sit in, some kind of parasail. At sometime around 9:30 this morning, that's when it all began, the parasail, powerglider, landing on the top of the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

We are not aware of any injuries to the person that was onboard at this time. We have seen them moving around, so we know that they are conscious, they are alert. They were lowered a rope a short time ago, and they were trying to secure those ropes at this time.

And once again, there were no injuries to any people on the ground.

We will widen out once again and try to see all of the efforts that have been ongoing here. Again, the New York Police Department, not only with their helicopter high above the scene, but several boats have taken members of the police and fire department over here to Liberty Island.

You will notice that there is nobody near the base of the statue...

FRAZIER: And as we lose the voice there of a reporter from WCBS, our affiliate in New York City, and who is on the helicopter; let's turn now to CNN producer Lauren Dembo, who coincidentally was on an adjacent island. This is Liberty Island we're looking at in these pictures. Laurin was on Ellis Island, also a storied location, especially for everyone who can claim American immigrant ancestors.

And Laurin, we want to know, could you see what was happening when this paraglider approached?

LAUREN DEMBO, CNN PRODUCER: Yeah, hi. We were just driving and we noticed the parachute floating aimlessly through the air and near the statue. Everyone was wondering what it was doing. And there was a helicopter surrounding him, and suddenly he just sort of landed on the top of the statue, on the torch part. And he's hanging there.

And through the view finder of the camera, we can see him sort of climbing and hanging down, and we don't know what else is happening. But, it's a pretty amazing sight.

FRAZIER: When he made his landing, Lauren, did it look like he simply snagged his parachute on the flame of the torch, or did he actually physically land there in the torch in that cast iron balcony part?

DEMBO: That I don't know. It looked almost deliberate, that he was sort of aiming for it. But, I don't know if he got snagged on it or if it was deliberate. I'm sorry.

FRAZIER: Well, with these pictures we're looking at now, as you talk to us Lauren, you can see the propulsion, a large fan-shaped propeller, in a frame behind the glider himself with the parasailor.

Did it look like he was doing anything else to draw attention to himself? Like a publicity stunt, before he actually hooked on?

DEMBO: Well we -- it definitely looked like something was going on. We were actually thinking maybe he was filming a scene for a movie, because it was definitely -- I mean, he is not there by accident, I'm sure. I don't know if he got snagged on it or not on purpose.

FRAZIER: How windy is it there now, Lauren? Is it something where he may have simply lost control in a breeze?

DEMBO: You know, it's not that windy. I mean, you can tell when you look at the water that there are a couple little waves, but it's not any windier than usual. It is pretty calm weather right now.

FRAZIER: And he went straight to the torch. As you know, the Statue of Liberty is the site of many protesters, but it's pretty hard now to get in from the base to climb up and, say, unfurl a banner, as various Puerto Rican nationalists or PETA protesters have done in the past.

So he went straight to the top. He didn't fly anywhere else?

DEMBO: I don't know what his actual intent was, but he went straight for the top and he's hanging there right now, causing quite a scene.

FRAZIER: And from where you are on Ellis Island, has he brought all of the activity to a stop as they watch him?

DEMBO: Absolutely. All of the tourists are gathered around, looking, and yes, the entire place is focused on this guy on the statue.

FRAZIER: Now, let's set the scene. You are on the Jersey side of the Hudson River and New York Harbor, and statue is between you and Manhattan. Is that right?

DEMBO: That is correct. We were driving onto Ellis Island from a little bridge in Liberty State Park in New Jersey when we saw him.

FRAZIER: What's the status of this island now? It used to be contested between New Jersey and New York state. Liberty Island is what now?

DEMBO: That, I'm sorry, I actually do not know the answer to that.

FRAZIER: Maybe he's a state's rights advocate looking to stake a claim. And no further word from police on Ellis Island about what he's doing?

DEMBO: We don't have any word at all. In fact, the PR people at Ellis Island seem as confounded as everyone else is. So, no one really knows anything at this moment.

FRAZIER: And you can see from these images, I don't know, Lauren, if you're within sight of a monitor here, but the aerialist himself seems to be in good shape, talking to the authorities on the balcony, and assisting with the lines that they've sent to him.

DEMBO: Yes, I can't quite tell because I'm on Ellis Island and I am looking through the view-finder of the camera, and that's all I pretty much see. I can't see a close-up. I'm sorry.

FRAZIER: Well, as you said, it seems to be a relatively calm day, so he was in control of his craft, and it went where he wanted it to go.

DEMBO: Perhaps. That I can't say.

FRAZIER: Now, what do you think is likely to happen to him next? Do you recall, earlier activities like this have earned arrests for the stuntmen, like the person who climbed up the World Trade Center back in the late '70s.

DEMBO: Actually, I'm sorry. It's very noisy, there's a boat and all these helicopters, and I can't quite hear anymore. I apologize.

FRAZIER: Well, Lauren, we'll let you go...

DEMBO: OK, thank you.

FRAZIER: ... and listen in a little bit more now. We've got pictures up from our other affiliate WABC-TV. I don't know if that comes with commentary.

Let's take a listen for just a moment.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WABC-TV: here at this time, Marcela. We have noticed some winds.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER, WABC-TV: Right now, the police focusing basically on getting him off of where he is and down to safety, then they'll sort out the details later.

FRAZIER: Just to recap, we're looking at pictures here of New York Harbor. This is, in fact, the Statue of Liberty, as you might suspect, and there below it, Liberty Island.

It has been the target of a power glider or parasailor. Choose the word you like. He's a self-propelled aerialist who is now climbing a little bit...

KAGAN: Scaling up the hand of the Statue of Liberty right now.

FRAZIER: That's right -- making his way to the torch, which apparently was his goal, according to eyewitnesses, as he flew this orange parachute around the torch of the Statue of Liberty and then was...

KAGAN: Got stuck, apparently.

FRAZIER: ... snagged. We don't whether that was intentional or not. We're looking at pictures now courtesy our affiliate WCBS-TV. And let's listen to what they are saying as we present these pictures.

UNIDENTIFIED WCBS REPORTER: You can see the person there pulling themselves up. They are secured inside of this power glider at this time. And as we watch this breaking story unfold, you see the person is now just about at the top of the torch.

One member of the Park Police now reaching over the top of the railing, trying to pull them in. And several other members of the police department have also reached over. And it does appear now they have almost gotten the person. They are now standing on the top of the torch, on the other side of the railing. And they will try to bring that person back over inside and obviously secure them.

And that does appear to be the case -- the person now just about over the railing. They are going to take off the power-gliding equipment that the person had on them to bring them over the railing. But it does appear now that the situation is secure. And we have seen the person now step over the railing and -- yes.

FRAZIER: Now we're going to listen to the commentary on another of our affiliates, WABC television in Manhattan in New York City.

And here is their image, made from another vantage point.

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: Again, that is U.S. Park Police and NYPD officers up there assisting him in getting this rider to safety.

KAGAN: Once again, we've been watching this going on. This has been going on since about 9:30 this morning Eastern time. The man, as we're getting information, is a Frenchman by the name of Thierry Devaux.

He originally planned, as we're hearing, to ride this power motor from New Jersey to the Statue of Liberty and then bungee jump off the Statue of Liberty. Clearly, those plans didn't exactly work out this morning, as he ended up on the side of the arm there. They threw him down a rope. And he was able to pull himself back up. I would imagine the good news is, he is OK. I imagine, though, Stephen, he is in somewhat a bit of trouble with the law once they get him down safely.

FRAZIER: New York City views this with a jaundiced eye.

And, apparently, we're learning from the work of our CNN researchers that Thierry Devaux has made similar jumps -- or has claimed to have made similar jumps from the Eiffel Tower in Paris, from the Golden Gate Bridge, others over the past 10 years. He says he performs these stunts for the pleasure of them.

KAGAN: OK. Well, good for him.

Let's go out and listen a little bit more to the coverage.

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: ... along with trying to get him unclipped. So I think they went with the safest and most basic way to rescue this man, who was hanging off the torch. And that was just to simply pull him up into the basket there and then work from there.

It's going to be interesting to see, though, how they get this parachute off of the torch, because that is pretty well tangled up. You can see the lines now dangling down wrapped around the torch. So that is going to be another aspect here before they can actually get this area reopened to the public.

KAGAN: It looks like they now just took that motorized pack that he had on his back, took that off. And that's going to help get him untangled.

UNIDENTIFIED WABC REPORTER: Yes. The initial reports was that he was not injured. We're waiting for confirmation. But from what we could see here from the air, from what you saw, he appeared to be helping himself as the officers were helping him.

He pulled himself with his own power up on to the railing. And then with the assistance there, he was able to get that backpack, the motorized pack, off of his back. And, yes, he appears to be moving around all right and operating under his own power at this point.

FRAZIER: As we heard, they have removed the propulsion part of this whole kit, the wire and steel frame that housed a motor and a large propeller that was at the aerialist's back as he flew through the air.

And you can hear, they're trying to figure out what to do with his parachute. But it appears that the stuntman is apparently unhurt, or appears to be unhurt, from the images we are seeing.

We are going to hear now from commentators at WCBS, who are presenting us from this picture now from their helicopter. And this is an area, as tourists in New York City will well know, that is open to the public. If you've gotten as high as the crown of the Statue of Liberty, you can then climb some stairs.

KAGAN: But you are not supposed to go this way.


KAGAN: That part is not open.

FRAZIER: Unauthorized entry.

KAGAN: Therein lies the problem. That reporter we were listening to before makes a good point. It's hard to see from this vantage point, but as you were mentioning, Stephen, about the parachute, beside getting this man down, they have a big job ahead of them because it's entangled, not just the material of the parachute, but the lines coming off of it are entangled back on the other side of the arm, at the bottom of the torch of the Statue of Liberty.

FRAZIER: There will be a lot of people who care deeply about this statue wondering whether it has sustained any damage in this stunt. Lee Iacocca, you'll recall, headed up a national campaign to raise funds for a restoration of the statue, it had fallen one some hard times. That was around the time of the bicentennial they started raising money.

But you can see how there's gold leaf on the flame that comes out of the torch now. That was part of the work they did then. It is cast iron and could presumably have been scarred up a little bit if he hit it hard enough with his equipment.

KAGAN: Well, that's one thing we weren't able to see. When we came to this and started seeing the pictures, we just saw him dangling. We don't know exactly how the impact of paramotor and person and Statue of Liberty took place, and where exactly he did hit. Perhaps he hit higher up and slid down. We have yet to hear that part.

I bet before it's all over some home video pops up of the whole incident.

FRAZIER: We were saying this is an intriguing character who has made this his practice on earlier occasions at other famous landmarks around the world. Lauren Dembo, with whom we were speaking on the telephone a few minutes ago, is at Ellis Island now and can give us a little background on him and his earlier exploits.

Lauren, are you able to hear us OK?

DEMBO: Yes, I can hear you.

FRAZIER: What do you know about him?

DEMBO: What we know so far, it's his name, it's Thierry Devaux. He's a Frenchman from Annecy, France, I believe. We know that he is a stuntman doing this for pleasure, it's been his goal for the last eight years. Apparently he has tried this before, and I think that he's stunts similar to this on Golden Gate bridge and Eiffel Tower.

Unfortunately, this particular stunt, at this time, failed. Because I think he was trying to land on the torch and he got stuck and wrapped up in it. In fact, as we just saw, he was pulled back up into the torch I believe, from what I can see.

So it doesn't seem to have any sort of political overtones at all. He was planning on bungee jumping from the torch, but since he's tangled, that's not going to happen. And that's what we know, it's just a goal of his to -- I guess a thrill-seeking type of goal, to bungee jump off of the Statue of Liberty.

FRAZIER: Usually this kind of stunt is accompanied by people who record it, Lauren, from some vantage point. You are one that would make a likely location. Is there any effort made to find people who are his accomplices?

DEMBO: You know, we only saw at the initial beginning of it. There was helicopter circling him. Rumor has it, it was a traffic helicopter. However, I have no way of knowing that, and I don't know the likelihood of him having his own crew and helicopter. So it appears that he's alone, and I don't know that he was doing it for media attention, it's more like a goal of his. I'm not sure on that front at all.

FRAZIER: And bungee jumping would mean that he has scouted this location before and measured the kind of heights, and calculated the amount spring in his lines and where he would attach them so he doesn't smack New York Harbor or the island at the base of the statue.

DEMBO: I would imagine if he's a stuntman who's done this kind of stuff before, and he's had this in mind for eight years or even more, who knows, that I'm sure you're right.

KAGAN: Lauren, hold on one second. I just want to interrupt here a second and point out, it looks like they're making some progress in getting the chute up and off dangling from the side of the torch there.

When we had a closer picture, we could see the police or the firefighter, whoever was up there, actually cutting the cord that was entangled around parts of the torch there. Now, look, it does appear like they've been able to get the parachute up, and it's no longer dangling from the side of the torch. There is still a piece there up at the very top that appears to be stuck.

FRAZIER: Hooked on the flame, in fact. But, what Lauren was telling is intriguing, because if in fact Thierry Devaux, if this is who our parasailer is, attempted to bungee jump, you wonder what would happen as he came back up. Usually you bungee jump off a bridge or some other place where your return is unobstructed, where's there's nothing in the way if you bounce back up.

KAGAN: That's true.

FRAZIER: And you can see there, the crown -- here's a still picture now of his approach.

KAGAN: Actually, I'm going to put that on the air. That is in our preset monitor right now. Can we put that up so folks can see the approach? We can't do that yet. All right, we'll hold onto that and get that for you in just a bit.

Meanwhile you can see the police, the rescue person -- that looks like NYPD.

FRAZIER: Yes, he's calling 911 I think. He's on the phone.

KAGAN: Ah, we have a parachute up here at the top of the Statue of Liberty. They do appear like they've been able, obviously, to get the man off the torch there, and then most of the parachute, although there's a big chunk of that parachute that's still, it's stuck at the very top.

FRAZIER: And very little activity at the base, as you can see now from this shot from WABC's and now WCBS' helicopters. Also, ironic that this parachute would be just the property of a stuntman looking to in effect be a daredevil. No commercial advertising anywhere on the parachute, in the advertising capital of the world.

And here's that they would use had he been injured, kind of a backboard stretcher, which they are bringing him in. But it doesn't...

KAGAN: So when you were seeing them pull him up, he appeared to be moving just fine. He did pull himself up with the ropes that they tossed over the side.

FRAZIER: Right. KAGAN: And he was able to help in getting -- there's a bit of a crowd there.

FRAZIER: He might have been hurt, but his extremities were all moving, so he was mobile.

KAGAN: And clearly, if you are someone who's going to undertake a stunt like this, probably you are in some amount of good physical shape.

FRAZIER: Well, it doesn't look as if they are in any great hurry now as they bring in this medical equipment. So, it may just be a way to restrain him as they bring him out.

KAGAN: That's true too. For the folks who are just joining us, let's go ahead and recap what we've been watching here for about the last 15, 20 minutes. It stated about 9:30 this morning Eastern time.

A man, as we understand it, a Frenchman by the name of Thierry Devaux left New Jersey with this power motor, which consisted of a big chute, a big sail, and a motorized pack on his back, flying from New Jersey to the Statue of Liberty. From what we're hearing, he had planned to do that and then bungee jump off the side of the Statue of Liberty. Stephen, as you pointed out, I don't know how much sense there was in that plan, because what do you do once the bungee jump plunge is over.

In any case, he never got that far because he became entrapped there on the torch, on the hand part of the Statue of Liberty. He was down there for about 45 minutes. They were able to rescue him.

We are also hearing that this is not the first time that this man has tried to do something like this. He claims he has made similar jumps and stunts from the Eiffel Tower and also from the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, that over the last 10 years.

FRAZIER: The first questions that arose were whether this had any kind of political implications, apparently not. This is just the work of a daredevil who has made a name for himself, or so he says, in performing similar stunts from other landmarks.

Next question was whether he was hurt, and that appears to be answered by his mobility as he helped rescuer.

KAGAN: And then the other question being if the Statue of Liberty was hurt. It would appear at this point in time, except for a big old piece of parachute stuck on top of her torch, she appears to be OK.

FRAZIER: The statue, of course, a gift from France to the United States, so maybe that's what attracted the attention of this French citizen.

KAGAN: Good point.

FRAZIER: Maybe trying to add a stanza or two to the famous Emma Lazarus poem at the base: Send me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses...

KAGAN: Your para...

FRAZIER: Your parasailors.

KAGAN: Yearning to be free.

FRAZIER: I lift my lamp beside the shining door, she says.

KAGAN: All right. As you can tell, there are a number of people, not surprisingly this being the end of a summer vacation, that are at the base there.

We're going to bring in Chris Calitri who's on the phone with us. And as I understand it, Chris, you saw what happened?

CHRIS CALITRI, WITNESS: Absolutely. I'm live here at Ellis Island.

KAGAN: OK. Tell us what you saw.

CALITRI: Yes. I was taking the ferry over to go to the Statue of Liberty. It was my goal today to walk to the top of the crown. And on our way over, we saw this what looks like a parachute circling the top. And I guess it was the plan of this parachuter to go on top of the circle and then be able to bungee jump once he got off to the top. And his parachute got stuck on the top as he was hanging there for about, oh I guess the last 45 minutes to an hour.

KAGAN: So Chris, did this guy then actually circle the Statue of Liberty for a while before he made impact there?

CALITRI: Well it wasn't very long. I mean, we were on our way over. We only saw him circling for maybe about 10 to 15 seconds before he got caught.

KAGAN: And, did you see when the stunt kind of went wrong there?

CALITRI: Well yes. I think it's very difficult to land on such a small area with the wind up that high. He probably misjudged where his landing was going to be.

KAGAN: So, did you actually see him run into the Statue of Liberty?

CALITRI: Yes, we did.

KAGAN: And where did he make impact? Did his shoe catch and then he kind of dangled at the end?

CALITRI: Again, I mean we weren't close enough to see him hit the side of the arm, but we were on the boat coming into the island.

KAGAN: Very good. Now, what's your status right now? Is the Statue of Liberty closed? Are they letting you go? CALITRI: Well, I got off at Ellis Island, and I'm hoping that once they get everything intact over there that they'll reopen the statue and I can head back and maybe make it to a top.

KAGAN: In a more conventional way than this gentleman.

CALITRI: Absolutely.

KAGAN: Very good. Chris Calitri, he's calling us from Ellis Island. He witnessed what we were watching just earlier. A man parasailing, paramotoring, whatever you want to call it, toward the Statue of Liberty, getting caught. Apparently trying to land and the stunt went wrong.

Chris Calitri, thanks for calling in.


FRAZIER: From our affiliate WCBS, Daryn, we have some still photos of what apparently was an earlier attempt, or sizing up trip by this individual, Thierry Devaux. And the still picture we hope to bring you in just a moment, shows a clear view from the ground. So there was either a citizen watching this or an accomplice of a parachute on an approach and getting very close.

It's apparently a French photo agency release the pictures now from November of 2000, when Thierry Devaux was trying to earlier or getting close enough to a look to gauge what it would be like on real attempt, a little less than a year ago. Again, a blue sky, almost a windless day it appears in these pictures from a French agency SIPA, and we don't know how that trip ended.

KAGAN: I wonder. We do know how today's ended, however, safely, yet not as planned.

FRAZIER: And from the pictures we're looking at of the crown now and the torch, you can see that not only is the aerialist or parasailor or paraglider down off the balcony, which is composed of the ring of the torch, but so is equipment.

KAGAN: It does look like they are not letting other tourists in there quite yet.

FRAZIER: This is the kind of scene normally in New York Harbor. That is one of the ferries that carries tourists aren't island that was visible to the right in the upper right-hand corner, and there is the line that is normally there to get in and make your way to the top. It's a pretty small space at top, so people aren't rushed away, but there is a press of other people, many of them New Yorkers, who are now shy about letting you know you've had enough time to look around.

KAGAN: And now we're getting a little more information what took place this morning. The man is believed to be a Frenchman, Thierry Devaux, a man who tried stunts like this, around the world, the Eiffel tower, off the Golden Gate bridge as well. He a uses a thing called a "paramotor," which is a parasail, with a motor engine attached, and he left from a building in New Jersey which is about 1 1/2 miles from the statue. That is according to his plan which was Revealed to the media in advance, so perhaps there are people who knew he would be trying to today.

The plan, as he intended it, was to land in the narrow platform that's very -- there is a live picture there. Clearly, he's been taken into custody, and even though they helped rescue him, handcuffed him, and that appears to be the man who was on top of the Eiffel Tower.

OK, getting back to what we think happened. He became entangled around 9:30, and as you were seeing, if you were with us on CNN, watching live. There were several rescue personnel, including uniform policeman, helping to bring him from the side of the arm of the Statue of Liberty.

FRAZIER: I think we're going to see him now, escorted in the center there, a T-shirt.

KAGAN: Of course we should point out that's who we believe to be him. We don't know for sure. When he came off the Eiffel Tower, he was wearing some kind of fund bodysuit that looks like it was all pink and red.

FRAZIER: In the past, this kind of stunt daredevil has been arrested and charged. Sometimes the charges have been dropped. The man that climbed up the World Trade Center became a hero in New York City and police dropped charges against him.

KAGAN: It this is indeed, Thierry Devaux, a Frenchman, there is poetic justice, since the Statue of Liberty was a gift from France in 1886.

FRAZIER: Well, gift or no, they're treating him without a lot of ceremony now as they escort this person away, and interesting to see how they take him away, whether they put him on ferry or a helicopter.

KAGAN: That's true, they have to get him out of there, don't they?

FRAZIER: There is a dock that receives visits from ferries. There is part of it in that shot. Looks like he's going by sea.

KAGAN: And that appears to be end of that story. The man in custody, the man we believe to be Thierry Devaux, a Frenchman in his mid to late 30s, who about an hour ago took off from a building in New Jersey, headed for the Statue of Liberty in a paramotor, which is a parasail with a motorized backpack. He was intending to land safely on top of the Statue of Liberty. Didn't quite work out that way. He appears to be OK. When the sail became entangled, the plan became different.

These are the first pictures we saw about 35 minutes ago here on CNN. As you can see, the parachute dangling from the top of the torch of the Statue of Liberty, and the man hanging with his motorized pack on his back, by some ropes that were thrown over to him by police.

FRAZIER: And with that and what we think is the safe rescue of the parasailor, we're going to break away from the story now, and we'll take a break, too.

When we come back, a little bit more on Congressman Gary Condit and his letter to constituents about his involvement in the Chandra Levy affair.


KAGAN: Getting more information on the stunt that was tried this morning. As you saw it live this morning here on the Statue of Liberty.

Let's bring in William Vitola -- he is with the park police -- to tell us what happened.

Good morning.


KAGAN: Can you tell us what you know about the stunt that was attempted on top of the Statue of Liberty just within the last hour?

VITOLA: Yes, at approximately 9:32 this morning, U.S. park police officers observed an individual flying around the Statue of Liberty. The subject subsequently landed on the torch of the statue. The subject became tangled on the torch. And U.S. park police officers responded to the torch and successfully rescued the subject.

KAGAN: Was the man hurt or the statue injured in any of this?


KAGAN: They're OK.

The man has been arrested. Any charges he's going to face?

VITOLA: Unknown at this time.

KAGAN: Not yet.

Is the Statue of Liberty reopened?

VITOLA: Not yet.

KAGAN: What's the timeframe on that?

VITOLA: That will be determined by the National Park Service.

KAGAN: Any more information about what happened? Had you guys been tipped off that this might happen?


KAGAN: This was a surprise.


KAGAN: All has ended and the man appears to be fine and the Statue of Liberty as well.

VITOLA: Correct.

KAGAN: William Vitola with the Park Police. Thank you so much.

VITOLA: You are welcome.

KAGAN: More in just a bit.



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