High Drama On Belfast's Big Wheel

A man has been arrested after he climbed up the 60 metres high Belfast Wheel and balanced on top, halting the wheel and trapping passengers for a time.

The 38-year-old, who was stripped off to nothing but shorts, scaled to the top of the wheel on Monday evening.

Specially trained police negotiators were called in and after two and a half hours, a specialist team of firefighters climbed up and led the man to safety.

It is understood the man was a member of the Traveller community who had been involved in a protest at City Hall.

There was some disruption as roads around the city hall were closed and a large crowd gathered as emergency services arrived at the scene.
News Image
A number of people were trapped inside some of the pods on the wheel during the safety operation as it couldn't be moved to release them during the incident.

The man climbed the wheel around 6.30pm and came down about 8.30pm, when he was arrested.

Councillor Pat McCarthy told today's Belfast News Letter that the man had previously been protesting at the front of City Hall.

"Apparently Roads Service told him he had to vacate his caravan from the front of City Hall," he said.

Mr McCarthy said there were five fire tenders at the scene and that, when firefighters began climbing up to rescue him, the protester began to climb down.

"Last week we had the rights of immigrants highlighted in Belfast and I think this highlights the rights of Travellers this week," said Mr McCarthy.


Related Northern Ireland News Stories
Click here for the latest headlines.

24 June 2009
Big Wheel Man Remanded
A 38-year-old man who climbed 200ft to the top of Belfast's big wheel has been refused bail. Patrick Joyce, of no fixed abode, was in court today charged with disorderly behaviour after the Belfast Eye in the grounds of the City Hall was brought to a standstill when he scaled the structure.
08 November 2017
Man Dies In Portadown Road Crash
An 18-year-old man has died following a collision in Portadown. The crash happened on the Dungannon Road between midnight and 12.30am on Wednesday, 08 November. The road has been re-opened. Elsewhere, a man, aged in his 30's, has died in a road collision in Co Antrim.
10 August 2018
Man Arrested On Suspicion Of Intimidation And Criminal Damage
A man has been arrested on suspicion of intimidation and criminal damage. A number of attacks on homes and cars have forced families to leave the Ballysillan area of north Belfast. A 26-year-old man was arrested and he is helping police with their enquiries.
13 December 2017
Masked Man Armed with Hatchet Robs Bingo Hall In Portadown
A masked man, armed with a hatchet, has threatened workers at a bingo hall in Portadown. The incident occurred at around 9pm on Tuesday, 12 December. The man threatened staff and made off with a sum of cash. No-one was injured. The man has been described as being around 6ft 3inches tall and of medium build.
11 June 2018
Police Appeal Following Fatal Crash In Fermanagh
Police are appealing for witnesses following a fatal crash in Co Fermanagh. A 42-year-old man died in the crash which happened on the Belfast Road in Brookeborough at around 8.35am on Friday, 08 June. The man was the driver of one of the vehicles involved. Police are appealing to anyone who may have dash can footage to contact them.