The Tate Modern is the U.K.'s second most popular tourist attraction, with 5.9 million visitors attending in 2018 alone

By Dave Quinn
August 05, 2019 11:47 AM
Advertisement
Credit: iew Pictures/Universal Images Group via Getty

British police have arrested a 17-year-old on suspicion of attempted murder after he allegedly threw a 6-year-old boy off a 10th floor viewing platform at London’s Tate Modern art gallery, resulting in a fall of approximately 100 feet.

The London Metropolitan Police made the announcement of the arrest on Sunday, though have since asked for more witnesses to come forward in order to determine what happened.

Neither the suspect nor the victim’s names have been released. There is also nothing to suggest the man knew the boy, police said.

The incident is being treated as an isolated event and the motive is unknown, police said.

According to the BBC, witnesses on the scene said the boy landed with “a loud bang” on the Tate Modern art gallery’s fifth-floor roof around 2:40 p.m. The child’s mother, from the 10th floor, was then heard shouting “Where’s my son? Where’s my son?” before “crying desperately.”

Olga Malchevska, a BBC journalist who was also on the 10th floor at the time of the incident, told the station the protective railings on the 10th floor were tall enough that a child would not have been able to accidentally fall off.

The boy was taken to the hospital by London’s Air Ambulance, British police said.

On Monday, he was listed in critical but stable condition and said to be surrounded by his family.

“We are providing around the clock support to the little boy’s family as they wait for more news on his condition and our priority remains to determine what led to yesterday’s events,” Detective Chief Inspector John Massey said in a statement. “This was a truly shocking incident, and people will understandably be searching for answers.”

Massey went on to thank members of the public, who detained the suspect before he was arrested.

“We are grateful for the support of the public, some of whom detained the male arrested in the immediate aftermath of the incident,” Massey said. “He was arrested by officers very quickly afterward.”

As for police’s call for more public information, Massey said anyone who was on the scene and/or who saw a male acting suspiciously should contact the incident room.

“It would have been incredibly distressing to watch, and it may be that you left Tate Modern very quickly after. If you have not yet spoken to us about what you saw, please contact us without delay,” Massey said.

Meanwhile, the Tate Modern — which shut down after the incident — has since reopened its doors. The 10th floor observing deck remains closed, the museum says.

“Tate is working closely with the police,” they wrote on Twitter. “All our thoughts are with the child and his family.”

The museum is the U.K.’s second most popular tourist attraction, with 5.9 million visitors attending in 2018 alone, according to the Association of Leading Visitor Attractions.