Tate Modern was shut and declared a crime scene on Sunday after a six-year-old French boy was thrown five floors from the 10th-floor viewing platform. The child crashed onto the fifth-floor roof above the new member’s room and was airlifted to hospital by air ambulance where he remains in a critical condition.
Tate Modern is the UK’s most popular tourist attraction with over 5.9m visitors
A 17-year-old was detained at the scene by members of the public and arrested on suspicion of attempted murder. The Met Police said eye-witnesses saw the six-year-old thrown from the gallery’s viewing platform. A police spokesman said there was “nothing to suggest (the suspect) was known to the victim”. The boy was a tourist visiting London from France with his family. Visitors to the gallery were locked inside the Bankside gallery for more than two hours.
Artlyst reader Liz Helman said, “We were at the Nan Golden exhibition and when we tried to leave we were told by staff there was an incident and a lockdown. I wandered around for a bit then we were allowed to leave. There were lots of cops outside, so we knew it was a serious incident”.
The BBC Reported that Nancy Barnfield, 47, of Rochdale, was at the 10th-floor viewing gallery with a friend and their children when her friend heard a “loud bang”. Ms. Barnfield said she turned around and saw a woman screaming: “Where’s my son, where’s my son?” Members of the public quickly surrounded a man who was nearby, she said.
Ms. Barnfield added: “We did not notice the mum before, we noticed her after because she was hysterical by then.” She said the person who was restrained by members of the public before the police arrived “just stood there and was quite calm”. Eyewitness Stuart Haggas said he saw emergency crews moving along the roof between the gallery’s Turbine Hall and its recent extension.
“They were carrying a stretcher with someone on it,” he said, “plus a second stretcher was waiting by the door.” “There were quite a lot of families with children, and security guards told us we couldn’t leave,” he said. “There were at least two fire engines, ten police cars, and an incident control unit. Parts of the exterior of the building were taped off.”
This morning, London’s Met Police issued an update that the boy’s condition has been assessed as “critical, but stable.” Later they stated in an update that his condition was critical but no longer life-threatening.
A spokesperson for the gallery said, “Tate is working closely with the police,” adding, “All our thoughts are with the child and his family.” The gallery is open today, although the viewing platform is closed.
Tate Modern is the UK’s most popular tourist attraction with over 5.9m visitors, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions. The viewing gallery is an awe-inspiring 360ᵒ view of the London skyline, from high above the River Thames. It was designed by Jacques Herzog and Pierre de Meuron as an addition to the former Bankside Power Station. Tate is a renowned international modern and contemporary art gallery. The viewing platform was opened in 2017 and is free to the public.
Photos P C Robinson © Artlyst 2019