Belfast Telegraph

Pair who climbed to the top of 99m Toome bridge were 'dicing with death'

By Laura Abernethy

This was the moment a cyclist spotted two people climbing to the top of a 99m bridge above a busy dual carriageway.

Damien Doyle, from Ballymaguigan, was cycling along the A6 dual carriageway just outside Toome around 10.30am on Sunday morning when he saw two figures on top of the massive bowstring arch bridge.

He said that he watched as the people, each standing on one of the two arches on either side of the road, stood up in turn and took photographs of the person on the other side.

He said: "I saw it from a distance and I almost couldn't believe it but when I got closer, I could see them and I took a few photographs.

"I cycled on for a bit and then turned back and saw them each taking pictures up there. They seemed to have proper cameras because one was taking photos of the other. They went prepared for it."

Although it was bright and dry on Sunday morning, Damien added that the wind was quite strong because it's quite an open area.

"The weather was okay and it didn't seem that windy on the ground but it can be really windy on that bridge. As soon as they took their photos, they had to sit down and sort of shuffle about to try and get back down again. It was crazy and quite dangerous."

The bridge was opened in 2004 as part of the £18m bypass scheme in a bid to reduce congestion in the Co Antrim village.

The 1,600 tonne structure carries around 22,000 vehicles each day and cars continued to speed past below as the two people stood at the top of the bridge.

The Lower River Bann also runs underneath the bypass and there is a significant drop into the water.

Damien said he wasn't sure why or how the people were up there but they seemed to be there without any safety equipment, making the stunt even more dangerous.

"I'm not sure how they managed to get up there but it's not as steep a curve as it seems from below and maybe they managed to get up on their hands and knees somehow. They didn't seem to have any ropes on and seemed to just to be standing on it looking at each other," he said.

The 43-year-old said his pictures have been shared hundreds of times and he is concerned that people may attempt to copy the stunt.

"Everyone is talking about it", he said, "I hope that no body else will go and try the same. There needs to be a barrier or something put up to stop this happening again. They were lucky that no one got hurt this time but who knows what could happen if somebody else tried this."

Local DUP councillor Trevor Beatty said that anyone who tried this was "dicing with death".

He said: "This bridge is not for climbing on at all. The road in itself is dangerous but to climb up on that is ridiculous - if anyone fell off that, they would be killed. I absolutely condemn this.

"I'm not sure how we could put any sort of barrier up because if they are determined to get through, they will but people just need to realise it's a very dangerous thing to do."

Belfast Telegraph


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