Man arrested after scaling SoMa tower using suction cups

A climber known as “Skyscraperman” used suction cups to scale a luxury residential tower in San Francisco's South of Market neighborhood this afternoon.

The man, believed to be Dan Goodwin, 54, started making his way up the side of the Millennium Tower at about 2:15 p.m. Roughly three hours later, he reached a 58th-floor landing, where he waved an American flag, taped it to the building and was promptly taken into custody.

Goodwin, who also goes by “SpiderDan,” explains in a press release that he climbed the tower to draw attention to the vulnerability of skyscrapers to terrorist attacks and to raise awareness about cancer, saying he is a cancer survivor.

“Every day, thousands of people in our country spend time in high-rise buildings above the seventh floor and beyond the reach of fire ladders,” Goodwin said in the press release.

“Though developers would like us to believe otherwise, these people are susceptible to being trapped like the people in the World Trade Center on 9/11,” he said.

It is unclear whether that message will get through to Millennium Tower residents Steffin Kutzman and Chris Brown, who were watching the Giants game on TV when they learned of Goodwin's climb.

Mistakenly thinking Goodwin was Alain Robert, a Frenchman arrested in Sydney last month for scaling a 57-story building in that city, they popped a bottle of French Champagne and toasted him in the window as he passed, Brown said.

“Best of luck to him, I hope he keeps climbing all over the world,” Brown said.

When Goodwin started his ascent, police didn't know what to expect. They initially thought he might be suicidal, but then discovered that he had left behind some flyers explaining his motives, police Lt. Kevin McNaughton said.

Left with few options, they let him climb, shutting down Mission Street and bringing in a fire department heavy rescue team.

McNaughton said Goodwin seemed to know what he was doing.

“He was very well prepared with the suction cups,” he said.

About three-dozen people gathered at Mission and Beale streets to watch Goodwin's progress, some with binoculars.

Sam Sanethavong was in a taxi with his niece and nephew and a friend when they heard a “Spiderman” sequel was being filmed nearby. They hopped out of the cab and came over to watch.

After learning that it was an illegal stunt rather than a movie in the making, he called Goodwin “a crazy man.”

His niece's awe was not diminished.

“I can't believe he's all the way up there,” 8-year-old Jailyn Sanethavong said.

When Goodwin reached the landing, the crowd cheered. McNaughton said police planned to have a chat with him.

“We'll talk to him shortly, make sure he's OK, find out his mental state,” he said.

He said Goodwin would face charges of causing a public nuisance and trespassing.

“Now they're going to arrest him?” asked Nathan Porter, who rolled up on a skateboard after Goodwin had disappeared from view.

“They should give him a pat on the back,” he said.

Millennium Tower management released a statement in response to Goodwin's climb, which said, “We would like to assure our residents that building security was never breached, the climber never gained access to the building, and never were any of our residents in danger.”

The statement described the tower as the tallest residential building west of the Mississippi and the fourth-tallest building of San Francisco's skyline.

Goodwin's other climbing feats include the Sears Tower in Chicago and the north tower of the World Trade Center.

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