Niki Cheong blogging

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!

Here goes:

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.

Everything was fine and dandy when I got there. There was a long queue for tickets, and the sign said that it was congested up there and that there was at least a 45 minute wait for the lifts.

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.

They used that to herd us further away from the tower. We even had to cross the street.

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.

So I went up – real quick too. Only queued for maybe 5 minutes. If this didn’t happen, I’m not sure if I’d have made it up at all.

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

Discussion (43)

There are 43 responses to “Bomb threat at Eiffel Tower almost got me interviewed on CNN!”.

  1. dramanya!! well off to read the CNN story!

  2. hahaha sangat almost famous.. got quotEd by cnn.. so kira quatEr famous la..

  3. wah niki you femes!! you’re still on CNN anyway, even if it’s just in text. such an interesting life you have :P

  4. Read the CNN article, they should have reported: ‘Niki Cheong, a Malaysian celebrity’!

    Now tell us the truth, you were the one that made that faux call, weren’t you? ;)

    • Shhh :P hahah Tak baik you, I would never do anything like that, considering it made me waste a whole day waiting for it to reopen!

  5. glad there was no real bomb! have a good trip :D

  6. KG responded:

    · Reply

    a really exciting day huh? :) glad everything turned out ok!

  7. I queued when I was there in 2005, gave up halfway, climbed up n an old auntie actually walked faster than us. Then, we got a second wind and walk even faster LOL

  8. Wow, what an experience! Well at least they quote you in their article. Just read it. I bet you will always remember this incident :)

    • I will always remember for sure :D And now immortalised in CNN history. Woot! haha

  9. Cool! A memorable trip :-)

  10. Hey. Travel safe Dude. By the way, it is not rude to push – it is just French ….

  11. wah damn scary la ! Glad that both you and the tower are safe :D

  12. Wow!

  13. wah femes femes! nearly eheheh

  14. Wow Niki Cheong…..even name in CNN.com is more than cukup lah….don’t push ur luck som much…

  15. laydeh responded:

    · Reply

    Soooooo close to stardom!:)
    soon mate..
    When are you back> Am off to Italy for 2 weeks.. without hubs! :P

  16. You had a priceless experience there =) Did CNN reporting you as Malaysia’s Celebrity Blogger Niki Cheong~? =D

  17. my sis were there that morning, she went up early in the morning before all the bomb scare!

  18. mick responded:

    · Reply

    nice reading ur blog!

  19. Woon Chin responded:

    · Reply

    Niki, lucky you to be able to BE THERE at that time. But at the same time, glad that you are safe and sound. Man, almost “International STARDOM!”.. =D

    • Almost. Sigh. Hahaha :)

      I’m just grateful that the incident allowed me to go up without much of a queue!

  20. [...] Bomb threat at Eiffel Tower almost got me interviewed on CNN! [...]

  21. [...] After the London trip, I stopped by Paris for a couple of days before catching a flight home. On my first night, I went to the Eiffel Tower in the evening only to be there right at the moment when they decided to evacuate the area due to a bomb threat. I started Twittering about the event while lead to CNN picking up on the story. There were a few phone calls, a few almost attempts of me speaking to them live on TV but that didn’t happen in the end. They did quote me in their online story though. BBC and CNN in the same year, not bad eh? More pictures from the incident here. [...]

  22. [...] Just over a year ago, when I was in Paris visiting the Eiffel Tower, I got caught amid a bomb scare that required me to evacuate the area. It was an “almost famous” scenario for me as CNN very nearly put me on air to talk about it. You can read my post on it here. [...]

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