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SkyWalk closed indefinitely after incident

Sunday 6 Jan 2013 5:07 p.m.

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The SkyWalk at Auckland's SkyTower is closed indefinitely after a security breach yesterday.

Safety procedures for the SkyWalk will be reviewed after a man threatened to throw himself off New Zealand’s tallest building yesterday.

The mental health centre that the man escaped from is also carrying out an investigation.

Thrillseekers come for the amazing view on the SkyWalk. They're guided on a 1.2 metre-wide walkway 54 floors above Auckland, with nothing but harnesses to keep them safe.

But yesterday, horrified witnesses watched on as a man jumped a safety fence before being attached to the overhead safety system. He was dangerously close to the edge and refused to move back to safety.

“When you were looking at it it's a weird feeling because you're thinking if you actually saw it that it would be horrible,” says witness Ben Quigan. “So it was good to see that nothing actually ended up happening.”

Mr Quigan says he struggles to believe how it could have happened with all the safety measures in place.

“I was really surprised. After doing it myself, I didn't think it'd be possible really.”

The SkyWalk operators say they will remain closed while they review safety on the Sky Tower, but the company also says "at all times the correct safety procedures were followed by all SkyWalk staff, and management are pleased with the safe outcome of the situation, with no harm to the man or any customers and staff”.

There may be a wider inquiry. The Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment is in charge of workplace health and safety. It has told 3 News that it hasn't yet decided whether it will conduct an inquiry into what happened yesterday, but it will call the operators tomorrow and work from there.

The man involved in yesterday's incident was receiving treatment at a mental health facility in Hamilton. He's back there now but the centre is investigating how he escaped.

3 News

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