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Michigan State Police investigating illegal climbing incident at Mackinac Bridge

Michigan State Police investigating illegal climbing incident at Mackinac Bridge
Posted at 12:15 PM, Dec 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-02 18:16:23-05
(WXYZ) —

Michigan State Police is investigating an illegal climbing incident on the Mackinac Bridge.

Photos of the incident were posted on social media.

"This is not a harmless stunt; it's inexcusably reckless," said MBA Executive Secretary Kim Nowack. "This individual risked not only his own life but also the lives of those crossing the bridge beneath him, and would have threatened the safety of emergency personnel and Mackinac Bridge Authority (MBA) staff had a rescue been needed."

Michigan Department of Transportation Director Paul C. Ajegba, a member of the MBA, underscored the need for a thorough examination of security protocols.

"It is very troubling that someone would put their own life at risk not to mention that of others just for photos and thrills on our state's signature bridge," Ajegba said. "While the Michigan State Police continue their investigation, I have also asked the MDOT employees at the bridge to conduct a thorough review and implement measures to prevent future incursions."

MSP said the person responsible could be facing felony charges of trespassing at a key transportation facility.

"This matter is being investigated by MSP," said Demers. "We will use all of our resources to identify and prosecute this individual."

The photos were apparently shot from the top of one of the bridge towers. MBA staff reviewed an incident where an alarm was activated on the bridge early one morning in November. Staff could not immediately determine how it was activated.

When another alarm was activated hours later, staff observed someone leaving the bridge. Police were called to investigate but the person could not be located.

7 Action News has learned the man who climbed the bridge is the same man who made his way to the top of the Ambassador Bridge and posted pictures to Instagram in September.

The man behind the Drifter Shoots Instagram account says what he does shouldn’t be considered criminal because it’s his art and personal therapy.

“It’s hard to put into words being surrounded by that much beauty on all sides,” he says.

The man that state police, MDOT, and the Mackinac Bridge Authority is looking for would like to remain anonymous— but he goes by the name of “Drift.

His Instagram account has breathtaking photos getting — what is considered a bird’s eye view. But how does he gets past security measures and get all the way to the top of structures and back down?

“I don’t discuss the how. I don’t discuss the how with any of my work,” he says.

Well, that’s an answer that Michigan State Police probably won’t accept. Authorities say this isn’t a harmless stunt, it’s recklessly putting not only himself at risk, but the drivers below and emergency personnel had he needed to be rescued.

“I’m not a terrorist. I want to make that perfectly clear,” he says. “If I was not confident in my ability to be able to climb in certain ways I wouldn’t even attempt.”

The man behind the golden mask says he is an Army Veteran with PTSD and says his art is his therapy.

“I don’t do it for the adrenaline. I don’t need more adrenaline in my life I’ve had enough in my lifetime,” he says.

Drift was in the news in September after posting pictures of himself on top of the Ambassador Bridge. He sells his art on his website.

Drift doesn’t reveal when he took the pictures but says instead of sparking curiosity, it should inspire people.

"It’s about pushing human limits nothing is more exciting than the possibility of human growth,” he says.

He also says he doesn’t want people to try this on their own.