ST. AUGUSTINE, Fla. – A man could face federal charges for trespassing at a national park after climbing and falling from the Castillo de San Marcos in St. Augustine early Monday morning, park officials said.
The St. Augustine Police Department said the man suffered non-life-threatening injuries when he fell from the top of the historic fort after climbing on it about 2 a.m. Monday. A police report shows he was transported to Memorial Hospital in Jacksonville to be treated for an injury to his face, an injury to his foot and a possible injury to his lower back.
According to the police report, the man said he had climbed to the top of the fort several times in the past but this time he lost his balance while climbing down because he was intoxicated.
The scene outside the fort early Monday morning was a rare one, involving flashing police lights and rescue crews working on the man, who could be seen lying on the ground.
The atmosphere around the fort seemed normal again by afternoon, with people coming in and out, enjoying visiting the oldest and largest masonry fort in the United States.
People told News4Jax on Monday that they love visiting the fort.
Ben Delaney and Ashley Sheffer said they thought it was "awesome."
“It’s pretty neat to see its history,” added the couple, who were visiting the fort from New York with their two children.
Elsa Hernandez was visiting the area for the first time from Southwest Florida.
“I’m originally from Puerto Rico, too, so they have Mauro, which is similar to this, and I really want to look at it because it brings back some memories of Puerto Rico,” Hernandez said.
Visitors were shocked to learn about the man climbing the fort early Monday morning.
“Oh, my God, no,” Hernandez said. “Just see the beautiful fort and enjoy it.”
Visitors told News4Jax they remind people to respect monuments such as the Castillo de San Marcos and said the monuments are a special part of America’s history.
Officers said the man is not facing local charges through the Police Department, but federal charges could come through the National Park Service since the incident happened on the park’s property. News4Jax asked someone with the fort about possible charges against the man. The staff with the National Park Service office is looking into it.