FOSTER AVENUE BEACH — Dozens of beachgoers watched as a man appeared to threaten suicide by jumping off a lighthouse at Foster Avenue Beach Wednesday afternoon.
More than 20 police, SWAT and fire department vehicles, plus at least three police and fire boats, surrounded the pier as the shirtless man frantically waved his arms during talks with authorities standing about 30 feet below. There also were at least 10 SWAT members in full gear.
The shirtless man came down at about 5:45, after four SWAT team members armed with a bolt cutter climbed up the lighthouse ladder and opened a hatch.
He could be seen handcuffed and escorted into one of the waiting ambulances.
Tim Herlihey and several friends were on a birthday picnic with employees at Uptown Bikes when they spotted the man atop the lighthouse.
"It's sad," Herlihey said. "I think he must be mentally ill or tripping."
The man appeared visibly distraught as he paced the small space atop the lighthouse, laid down on his back and argued with authorities.
He appeared to attempt to get down from the lighthouse several times but was unable due to an overhang.
He remained atop the lighthouse about three hours after climbing it, according to Herlihey.
Several spectators didn't think the incident warranted such a large response.
"At one point I counted 22 cars, four fire trucks, two ambulances, four police command centers and six boats," E.J. Kilfoy said. "There are two crazy people here: The guy up there and whoever is running the command center."
Witnesses said the man seemed to have undergone "a wardrobe change" during his time on the lighthouse. He appeared to be wearing his black socks and another black garment on his head on his hands due to the cold.
He had previously asked officials for more clothing, witnesses at the scene said.