NJ Man Climbed JetStar After Sandy; He's Cracked Famed Ice Disk

WESTBROOK, ME — Six years ago, Christopher Angulo captured attention after he climbed the JetStar as it sat in the ocean where it was unceremonimously dropped by Superstorm Sandy.

Now, the Lavallette man is back in the spotlight, after he tried to carve a giant peace sign into a giant ice disk on Maine river that has captivated observers around the world, apparently cracking the disk in the process.

“Christopher Angulo is cutting a peace sign into the Westbrook ice disk,” Dustin Bonk, the weekend meterologist for CBS13 and FOX23 in Portland, Maine, tweeted. “He says he wants to make a visual of peace making the world go round.”

The giant ice disk is a natural formation in the middle of the Presumpscot River in Westbrook, Maine, “in the heart of Greater Portland,” the city says on its Twitter account. It first appeared Jan. 15 and has captured attention as far away as Japan as it has slowly spun as the river has flowed past it.

It’s become the subject of paintings and poetry, and tongue-in-cheek speculation about aliens.

It’s also the subject of research by a polar oceanographer at Brown University. Chris Horvat, a postdoctoral researcher at the Institute at Brown for Environment and Society, studies the connections between sea ice and climate, and said the disk gives them an opportunity to gain some insights into how ice floes form and evolve in an article on the Brown University website.

“With this ice disk, we don’t have to get a ship up to the Arctic, we don’t have to fly drones or any of that. It’s right in the middle of a city. So we have all these buildings and infrastructure around that we can use to get a look at it,” said Horvat, who set up a webcam to keep a constant eye on the disk. You can see a time-lapse of the disk spinning at the bottom of this article.

That’s how Angulo, 44, was first spotted. Webcam viewers saw him (though some believed he was a woman) on the ice, chipping away with an ax and later using a chainsaw.

Angulo told the Portland Press Herald he wanted to study the disk and “get his master’s degree in ice disks.” He told the publication he had set up underwater cameras, and planned to take core samples of the disk. He brought a pickax, a hatchet, an umbrella, a tarp and a small chainsaw with him aboard an inflatable raft, and even fell into the river up to his waist at one point, but freed himself.

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Mainers and ice disk fans were less than enthused by Angulo’s efforts, especially once the crack formed. Social media comments ranged from the polite “get off our ice disk!” and “go ruin something in your own state” to the less polite comments about the Garden State and its smokestacks and highways.

Even the ice disk’s Twitter account had a few things to say to Angulo: “Did Gandhi get a peace sign tattooed on his head? No” and “Someone teach the man how to Photoshop so he can just meme with the rest of you.”

Tina Radel, the Westbrook marketing and communications manager who’s originally from Manasquan, said she spoke to Horvat about whether Angulo could have caused significant damage.

“Not enough to do anything that would stop it from doing what it wants,” Horvat said. “So no fear. Ice is a ton for every square meter. That piece of ice may be up to a thousand tons.”

The deep freeze early in the week had frozen the river sufficiently that the disk had stopped spinning, but warmer weather had watchers hopeful that it would start to spin again.

Angulo was arrested in January 2013 after he took a canoe out ot the Jet Star roller coaster as it sat in the water off Seaside Heights, scaled the coaster and placed an American flag at the top. He described his actions as “an act of patriotism” at the time. He was charged with criminal trespassing after he was coaxed down. His court case was adjourned after he was taken for psychiatric counseling.

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The ice disk on the Presumpscot River. Photo by Tina Radel, City of Westbrook, Maine

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