Hero cops talked a man down to safety after he scaled the Sydney Harbour Bridge in rush hour

Screenshot: Channel 7.

Sydney’s traffic network was thrown into chaos on Friday morning when a man suddenly got out of a car and started climbing the Harbour Bridge during rush hour.

Police shut down several lanes of southbound traffic as they launched an operation to talk down the man, who took a seat high on a girder near the top of the iconic bridge, and appeared calm through the incident.

Wearing black sunglasses, black clothes and white shoes, he sat with his hands crossed in his lap.

Channel 7 captured it in helicopter footage which also showed emergency personnel dashing about the bridge amid their efforts to get him down safely.

The man was later led by police to an ambulance and taken to hospital for assessment.

The operation caused gridlock across the city, infuriating Sydneysiders.

Motorists were warned to expect delays, while buses travelling across the bridge were delayed by up to 25 minutes.

Here’s a look at the traffic jam as a result.

Police and rescue crews on the scene escorted the man from his perch.

A police spokesperson says, “He was checked by NSW Ambulance Paramedics at the scene and taken to Royal North Shore Hospital for assessment.”

Before now three people have been fined for illegally attempting to climb the bridge over the past five years, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

According to the Roads and Maritime Services, trespassers can be fined $3000 for unauthorised climbing or access of the bridge.

In 2002, private security guards were employed to patrol the bridge on a 24 hours basis.

Former communications & corporate relations director of the RTA, Paul Willoughby at the time of the security guards appointment that it was about having a “visible presence” on the bridge.

“It’s people who are patrolling the bridge and have an ability to provide an alert to police if that’s necessary,” he said.

“Security has long been an issue for the Sydney Harbour Bridge. It was an issue during the Olympics. It’s obviously been a heightened issue in the wake of Bali and advice to us as the RTA as owners of the bridge take security there carefully.

“We obviously work closely with the police and the appropriate authorities. But in relation to a specific threat, we certainly don’t have that in relation to the bridge. We’re providing what we think is an important and visible security presence there for a pretty vital asset.”

The ABC has more on that here.

More to come.

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