The Eiffel Tower was shut to all visitors after “terrorist suspects” with “large rucksacks” were spotted at France’s iconic tourist attraction.
The area was surrounded by anti-terrorist police after reports came in of three people, spotted climbing the tower from the outside.
But after an intensive search it is thought the suspects may have escaped via parachute – prompting suggestions that the trio were extreme sportsmen or base-jumpers.
“They were said to have large rucksacks so no chances could be taken. They completely disappeared, so enquiries are centered on them being extreme parachutists.
“There were of course fears that they may have left dangerous material on the the tower before leaving.” A police source told reporters.
The incident happened around 5:30am local time. By 9am hundreds of tourists were turned away from the tower and told to vacate the area, directed by police to the banks of the River Seine.
There have been numerous bomb alerts at the Eiffel Tower in recent years, prompting France to be on high alert.
One of the most visited monuments in the world, the Parisian icon is visited by an estimated 7 million people per year.
The tower was eventually re-opened, but police are said to be “searching Paris” for the culprits, a source told theDaily Mail.