Seaside Heights roller coaster to be removed soon

Jet Star roller coaster in Seaside Heights

April 17, 2013 2:39:37 PM PDT
One of the most popular attractions in Seaside Heights, New Jersey is still sitting in the Atlantic Ocean.

The Jet Star roller coaster was washed into the ocean during Hurricane Sandy nearly six months ago.

Now, officials are scrambling to remove the coaster - which has become an iconic image of Sandy's destruction - in time for the summer beach season.

"It's so sad. You think about summers gone by, you think about being with your family and friends, all the good times that you've shared down at the shore - and here it is in the ocean," said Karen Hall of Parsippany, New Jersey.

The beach in Seaside Heights is off limits, but there's a constant flow of the curious who come to see in person the image that's been seen around the world.

"To think that it's just sitting there in the ocean, it's just wild," said Scott Hall of Hawthorne, New Jersey. "I can't even imagine how destructive that storm was."

Some merchants would like to see the roller coaster stay.

"I think they should leave it there at least for the first year because that's the symbol of that hurricane," said boardwalk merchant Ron Yefed.

But officials say it's just too dangerous.

"To ensure peoples' safety, and because the wrong thing would be done. Somebody would be out climbing on it, we don't know what's under it. The safe thing, the prudent thing, is to do is what's being done," said Mayor Bill Akers of Seaside Heights.

The Storino family, which owns the Jet Star and the casino pier, is now finalizing a multi-million dollar contract for its removal, a job that's supposed to be finished by Memorial Day.

"It's an eyesore. Sometimes, still, people just remember Hurricane Sandy that way. So, when it's out, people know that the shore is still alive, we're still going, you can come back," said Maria Mastoris of the Casino Pier.

Contractors will need three to four days of good weather and calm seas. Once they start the job they'll go around the clock until the coaster is completely dismantled.

Seaside Heights is still in the process of rebuilding its boardwalk and officials say they would rather look to the future than at the colossal reminder of Sandy's destruction