US President Donald Trump on Monday called the blaze engulfing Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris "horrible" and suggested the deployment of flying water tankers, before being told by French authorities that this wouldn't work.
"So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!" Trump tweeted.
Fire spread rapidly through a major portion of the magnificent Gothic cathedral at the heart of Paris, causing a spire to collapse and raising fears for the building.
The cause of the blaze was not immediately confirmed, but the cathedral had been undergoing intense restoration work.
Following Trump's tweet, the French civil protection service responded that the one thing it was not contemplating was using aerial tankers, which dump enormously heavy loads of water, usually on wildfires.
"Hundreds of firemen of the Paris Fire Brigade are doing everything they can to bring the terrible #NotreDame fire under control," the civil protection service said in a statement.
"All means are being used, except for water-bombing aircraft which, if used, could lead to the collapse of the entire structure of the cathedral."
So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris. Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!- Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) April 15, 2019
Later, while in Minnesota for a speech on the economy, Trump called the fire "one of the true catastrophes" and said "the television images he'd watched during his flight were "a terrible sight to behold."
"It was burning at a level you rarely see a fire burn," he told the crowd.
"It's a part of our culture, it's a part of our lives."
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