Wearing a steadicam atop a red helmet, a surfer rowed out to the Seaside Heights roller coaster this morning, climbed it and unfurled an American flag before surrendering to State Police.
His mother told News12 New Jersey that 36-year-old Chris Angelo, a tree service operator from Lakewood living with his grandmother in Lavalette, had “a love for something gone and lost” and was “displaced, like many are” by Hurricane Sandy.
He apparently planned on staying there a few days, aiming to bring attention to the trouble getting relief aid to the Jersey Shore. But New Jersey State Police coaxed him down, then handcuffed him behind his back in their boat.
They then brought him to shore, where a police van was waiting near what was once the Casino Pier.
While up there, Angelo sent photos to News12 New Jersey (above, left). A witness snapped another shot (right).
Hurricane Sandy tossed the Jet Star into to ocean, leaving its steel structure exposed — and making it an iconic monument to the devastation.
Angelo’s mother told News 12 New Jersey he climbed aboard the ruins of the roller coaster to bring attention to the recovery effort. Diane Angelo of Pennsylvania said he has a “major love of the Shore and America.”
She also said she didn’t plan to bail him out — but several viewers called News12 New Jersey and offered to post it.
“This is America. I’d like to definitely post some cash to the guy,” one said.
A female news anchor dubbed the caller “a good Samaritan.”
Some called Angelo names such as “jackass,” while others praised the man for having the nerve to pull such a stunt.
“The only thing stupider than this stunt is immature morons on here cheering him on,” Richard Toczynski said, chastizing them. “YOU jackasses can pay the first responder bill.”
Volunteer EMT Chris Mallon agreed on Jersey Shore Hurricane News: “[I]t is our job to help people[,] even idiots that do stupid things, but the point is there could be someone somewhere else that actually needs our help that could be injured or [G]od forbid dying from an injury and it isn’t fair to tie up emergency service personnel because you want to [perform] a stupid stunt.”
“[W]ith summer around the corner more idiots will be doing the same thing,” added Stacey Racz Ciaston.
Some weren’t as harsh.
“I don’t think it was the smartest thing to do, but he could be like many of us who lost everything from that storm,” Kate Cirillo wrote. “Give the guy a break.”
“This former rollercoaster needs to be completely taken down and out of the [o]cean before some crazy fool tries this stunt again,” added Cathy Murphy. “Hopefully, they will remove it, before a tragedy happens.”