Intruder climbs 400-foot Orlando TV station tower, stays for eight hours

A man who authorities in Florida believe has a history of mental illness scaled a 400-foot Orlando television station tower and stayed there for nearly eight hours Wednesday.

CBS affiliate WKMG reported that authorities sealed off access into and out of the station after the unidentified man ascended the tower at around 11 a.m. The intruder stood near the top of the tower for four hours before firefighters began following him up the tower with climbing equipment.

The man, who was wearing gym clothing and a backpack, began descending the tower at around 3:45 p.m., taking frequent breaks as he went.

He began his final descent at around 6 p.m. and first responders were waiting for him as he reached the ground at around 7 p.m.

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He was escorted away by ambulance. It was not immediately clear why he climbed the tower in the first place.

The station said it did not show the incident live on air due to the unpredictability of the situation.

"The safety of our community, our employees and this gentleman are of paramount concern to us at WKMG," station vice president and general manager Jeff Hoffman said in a statement. "We are thankful for the Orlando Police Department and Orlando Fire Department’s prompt response and hope this comes to a safe conclusion."

Click for more from WKMG-TV.