Friday 21 July 2017

Famous Carrick-a-Rede rope bridge closed for 'foreseeable future' after vandals cut rope

An attempt was made to cut part of the rope at Northern Ireland's famous Carrick-a-Rede bridge, it has emerged.

Earlier on Wednesday the National Trust announced the bridge had been closed, and would remain closed for the "foreseeable future" following an "act of vandalism".

The PSNI are investigating the incident and have revealed that some of the ropes on the world-famous bridge close to Ballintoy were cut.

Inspector Colin Reeves has made an appeal to anyone who may have noticed any suspicious activity in the area overnight.

"Sometime between 6.30pm on Tuesday 23 May and 9.30am on Wednesday 24 May, a padlock on the gate which leads to the bridge was removed," he said.

The hand rope on the right hand side of the rope bridge and supporting ropes at the side of the bridge were partially cut."

He added: “We are appealing to anyone who may have witnessed anyone acting suspiciously in the area to contact police in Coleraine on the non-emergency number 101.”

The National Trust announced on Wednesday morning that the attraction will be closed for the foreseeable future - following what it described as an "act of vandalism overnight".

In a statement the organisation revealed that it has discovered the bridge is damaged during a routine safety check.

It added that structural engineers are currently working to assess the level of damage, emphasising that the safety of their visitors and staff is of "utmost importance" to them.

The incident is now under investigation by the police.

"The National Trust is engaging with structural engineers to assess the damage caused, however as the safety of visitors and staff is of paramount importance, the bridge will remain closed for the foreseeable future  until all necessary repairs and structural assessments have been carried out," the statement says.

Max Bryant, General Manager, North Coast voiced the organisation's disappointment.

“We were very disappointed to discover that the bridge had been damaged overnight and to have to close it as a result," he said.

"This closure is very disappointing for visitors and the local economy, as well as for the National Trust, especially leading into what will be an extremely busy weekend."

The National Trust also clarified that while the bridge remains closed, the overall site is open and visitors can still come and enjoy the wildlife, coastal walks and take in the stunning views whilst enjoying refreshments in the tearoom.

The rope bridge on Northern Ireland's north coast, on the outskirts of Ballintoy, has been a popular visitor attraction for decades.

It was originally erected by salmon fishermen in 1755, spanning 20 metres across a 30 metre drop to the sea below.

The current bridge is made out of wire rope and Douglas fir, and attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors every year to enjoy the thrill as well as the magnificent local scenery.

Belfast Telegraph

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