NEW YORK- A team of daredevil parachutists and a lone teenager have triggered fears about lax security at New York’s rebuilt World Trade Center, an emblem of the city’s resilience and renewal after the horrors of 9/11.
Within the space of a fortnight, revelations of repeated security breaches at what should be one of the most tightly guarded buildings in the United States have been met with incredulity by locals.
The first breach took place at night on September 30 last year, when three base-jumpers — one of whom worked on the site — accessed the tower before leaping off and descending to the streets of Manhattan.
The second case, on March 16, saw a 16-year-old enthusiast slip through a fence and take an elevator to the 84th floor of the highly symbolic building.
He then made his way up to the 104th floor, sneaking past a sleeping guard, before using a ladder to reach the spire at the top of the 541-meter construction.
The guard caught napping was subsequently fired. The teenager was arrested and charged with misdemeanor criminal trespass.
In the base-jumping case, four men — the three parachutists and a lookout — were arrested and charged this week following a five-and-a-half month investigation.
A video of the base-jumpers’ daring nighttime descent appeared online this week, quickly racking up more than a million views.
One of the men arrested, 33-year-old Andrew Rossig, said breaching security at the site had required “no effort whatsoever.”
“We just kind of walked in. It’s supposed to be the most secure building in the world,” he said.
“God forbid it was somebody else getting in there with a real intention to harm New Yorkers.”