Tourists clapped as police on ropes escorted a man who had climbed to the top of the Sydney Opera House back to ground level in a dramatic rescue, according to reports.
The man climbed a sail of the iconic building on Sunday in an apparent protest but was successfully talked into coming down with two officers as police helicopters circled overhead.
Laura Finlay, an Irish construction worker in Sydney on a working holiday visa, said her group of friends spotted the man while they were sightseeing in the area.
Police negotiate with a man who climbed one of the Sydney Opera House's sails. Photo: Jason McCawley
"He was just kind of walking up and down [the sails]. He was smoking a cigarette and drinking from a can - we don't know if it was alcohol or not," Ms Finlay said..
"He was there for at least an hour ... people were taking pictures and recording video. Then the police arrived and cleared the area, and everyone had to leave."
Another bystander said the man, who was wearing a South Sydney Rabbitohs jersey, was yelling down to police and "mentioned he was at one stage in the armed forces".
High drama on the House: Police escorted the man back to ground level on Sunday. Photo: Jason McCawley
"Security had no idea how he got up there," the witness said, adding that the man appeared to have left his wallet on the ground and security personnel were using it to try to establish his identity.
"He seemed intoxicated."
Police have declined to comment on the incident.
Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by phoning Lifeline 13 11 14; Mensline 1300 789 978; Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.