President Donald Trump on Monday encouraged France to use "flying water tankers" to put out a raging fire at the Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris as firefighters rushed to save one of the countrys most visited landmarks and local officials called for those nearby to evacuate the scene.
Read: Paris Notre Dame Cathedral is on fire
"So horrible to watch the massive fire at Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris," the president wrote. "Perhaps flying water tankers could be used to put it out. Must act quickly!"
It was not immediately clear what caused the fire at the 12th century building that attracts more than 13 million visitors each year and is home to a number of the countrys artistic masterpieces. The cathedral was being renovated at the time it caught fire. Parts of the churchs historic spire are reported to have collapsed.
Experts said that the presidents proposal would likely make the situation more dangerous.
"If you hit that with tons of water from above, thats going to collapse the entire structure and make the situation worse," said Wayne McPartland, a retired New York City Fire Department battalion chief. "If you miss, you might hit civilians in the street."
France made plans to convert six aircraft into air tankers last year, according to the industry website Fire Aviation. Each of the planes can carry 2,600 gallons of water.
By Monday evening local time, Frances Ministry of the Interior reported that 400 firefighters were responding to the Notre Dame fire.
At a tax roundtable event later Monday in Minnesota, the president said that the cathedral was "burning at a level that you rarely see a fire burn."
"It might be greater than almost any museum in the world, and its burning very badly. It looks like its burning to the ground. So, that puts a damper on what we are about to say, to be honest," Trump said.
He said that French authorities believed the cause of the fire was the renovation that was underway.
"I hope thats the reason. Renovation, whats that all about? But its a terrible sight to behold," Trump said.