PARIS (AP) — Professional mountain climbers were hired to install synthetic, waterproof tarps over the gutted, exposed exterior of Notre Dame Cathedral, as authorities raced to prevent further damage ahead of storms that are rolling in toward Paris.
The looming bad weather threatens to further damage the 850-year-old cathedral whose roof was destroyed by the April 15 blaze, leaving the church to the mercy of the elements.
Architect-in-chief Philippe Villeneuve said he had to rush the installation of the protective covers that started Tuesday.
“The climbers, since it will be climbers who will do that, and the scaffolders, are ready,” Villeneuve told BFMTV on Tuesday. “The beams are there, the tarpaulin on its way …. The highest priority is to protect the cathedral from the rain to come.”
Some of Notre Dame’s remaining statues were removed by crane before the tarpaulins were hoisted up. Workers in the afternoon began dragging them over to cover vulnerable parts of the structure.