Casino Pier hired Weeks Marine, an experienced maritime contractor, to bring a barge bearing a giant crane and a grasping claw.
SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (AP) When Superstorm Sandy hit this past October, it was the Jet Star roller coaster itself that plunged into the waves off the amusement pier where it had been anchored for decades.
Work crews began tearing down the remains of the roller coaster and placing them on a huge storage barge, which carried away the last remnants of the beloved ride within 48 hours.
The image of the Jet Star, sitting in the ocean, was perhaps the most famous and enduring image of Superstorm Sandy. It appeared hundreds of times in media accounts and graced T-shirts, hoodies and car magnets, sold by the numerous charities raising money for storm victims.
The ride is privately owned by Casino Pier, one of two amusement piers in Seaside Heights that were devastated by the Oct. 29 storm. Funtown Pier, at the southern end of the boardwalk, was so badly damaged it cannot open this summer, but will be back in 2014.
Casino Pier is being rebuilt and will include at least 18 rides this summer, including a new pendulum ride called The Superstorm, in defiance of Sandy.
The coaster’s removal was delayed for months while the company wrangled with insurers and contractors over a rare engineering feat: Exactly how DO you snag a roller coaster out of the sea?
In the end, they came up with a fairly simple solution. The company hired Weeks Marine, an experienced maritime contractor, to bring a barge bearing a giant crane with the same sort of grasping claw featured in miniature in so many Seaside Heights arcades, where contestants maneuver the device and try to capture a stuffed animal or sports jersey as a prize.
The project also will remove three other rides that fell from the pier and into the ocean during the storm, but have been submerged and out of view since then, said Toby Wolf, a spokeswoman for the pier’s owners. The Stillwalk Manor, a haunted house-type ride; The Centrifuge, and the Log Flume all plunged off the pier and into the waves.
A fifth ride that fell from the pier, the Music Express, landed on the beach and was salvaged a few days after the storm, Wolf said.
The boardwalk itself is nearing completion, and the mayor promises it will be done by Memorial Day weekend. The section of boardwalk upon which Prince Harry walked on Tuesday, May 14, was just finished over the previous weekend by workers hastening to prepare for his visit.
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