Two self-proclaimed “idiots” who apparently climbed to the top of one of the Mount Hope Bridge towers in October and then posted the feat on YouTube are suddenly keeping a low profile.
The video recently vanished from YouTube at about the same time the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Authority “referred the matter to the Rhode Island State Police,” said Authority Chairman David Darlington.
“We will work with the state police to determine appropriate charges,” he added Thursday.
The video starts with the two young men shopping for flashlights in what they say is a Tiverton CVS store.
They then drive toward the bridge at night, pausing to take video footage of the bridge lights from Common Fence Boulevard in Portsmouth.
Arriving at the bridge they drive across, pointing out the cable they intend to climb.
There is no filming of the actual climb — one later chastises the other for messing up that part of the adventure.
There is, however, footage of what appears to be the two climbers celebrating at the top. Strong wind can be heard as they stand next to the tower’s flashing red aircraft light.
Several times they aim the camera at car headlights passing far below on the bridge deck — one of the two contemplates peeing on the vehicles (it is not clear that he ever does). They also film toward Fall River and then toward what looks like the Newport Bridge while one says that that will be their next conquest.
Mr. Darlington declined comment on the episode except to say that such behavior is both highly dangerous and illegal.
Bridge workers sometime scale the main cables to the top, always strapped in to hand-level cables on either side.
The bridge towers are 285 feet tall and rise about 140 feet above the bridge deck.
A number of years ago, a video was shot of a man bungee-jumping off the bridge. He said later that he did it in hopes of getting a movie stuntman job. Asked about that by a reporter, a Hollywood stunt company said it does not hire people on the basis of reckless acts.