Bomb threat at Eiffel Tower almost got me interviewed on CNN!
Almost famous. There’s not a more apt way I think to describe my experience in Paris this afternoon when I visited the Eiffel Tower at the time it got evacuated due to a bomb threat.
I had just gotten into Paris this afternoon and decided that I’d go to the Eiffel Tower in the evening so that I can get photos when it’s still bright, and when night falls and the tower lights are turned on.
After a while, they started evacuating the place and we had no idea what was happening. I started Tweeting from location, including attaching some pictures.
The I get a Tweet from @MiaAquinoCNN from CNN saying that they’d like to call me for some info. I gave them my number. The roaming charges are going to kill me, but hey, it’s CNN.
The message actually came in just as I was getting frustrated – I was a journalist in a country where I can’t understand the cops, and had no idea what was happening. I wanted to get into the thick of things!
Well, CNN almost gave me that opportunity. They called the first time just asking questions and then at the end, asked me to hold as they check with the producers if they wanted me on air.
They said not yet and I was told that they’d call me if they needed anything else. At this point I thought, They’ll never call back.
But they did. @MitraCNN called to asked for more information and asked if they could use my Twitpics and Tweets on air. Then she asked if I mind going live on air to talk about my experience.
She called me back and got me on hold – they really wanted me on air – except that a couple of mines of waiting later, she said they something else came up and they would call me back in 20 mins. They didn’t.
There goes my shot at international stardom! They did quote me in their online story though, and you can read it here!
So, since I couldn’t report for anyone, I thought I’d do it for my blog. Wahey!
I was walking from the Metro when these three cops just walked past me. One even pushed me away. I was thinking – how rude! Now I suppose they were dealing with a bigger issue.
I took pictures while contemplating if I should join the line. I was taking this picture when I see a few cops holding out tape from one end of the tower to the other.
At first, everyone was wondering what happened and didn’t take things too seriously. Since the cops had closed the road, we could get better pictures and we did. Until they started even pushing us away from the bridge. Then we knew something was up.
The rumours of a bomb threat started coming through. I heard it first from a French lady who was telling a passer-by about it. I didn’t understand here but I picked up the word ‘bomb’.
People the started asking the cops questions, and they seemed reluctant to respond. Mostly, they just told those people with tickets to go up to go get their refund. One cop did mention a ‘problem’ when trying tell tourist that he’s not sure how many hours (2-3 he said) before it reopens, if it reopens tonight.
After a while, the crowd started dispersing. Many gave up. I hung around a bit and suddenly at 8pm, the sparkling lights on the tower came up. In light of the incident, I think everyone was happy that the tower was still okay. There was an applause all over. That was quite a moment for me.
About an hour later, I saw the cars start moving on the bridge again and decided to walk back to see if they’ve reopened the tower.
They did! And because of the incident, the queues were starting again but moving much faddier because naturally, there was no one up there to cause any congestion.
I know I have a demented look on my face (it was freezing) but I’m so glad I did go up.
What a day