If Hurricane Sandy didn’t already have its fair share of iconic images, it now has its own Iwo Jima photo. On Tuesday morning, a man climbed to the top of Seaside Heights’ inundated Jet Star roller coaster and raised an American flag, in an image that became an icon of resolve in the face of adversity — and went viral almost immediately.
The roller coaster became one of the most famous examples of Superstorm Sandy’s destruction after it was washed into the Atlantic Ocean from the Seaside Heights boardwalk. On Jan. 8, News 12 New Jersey arrived on the scene in a helicopter to find Christopher Angelo, from the nearby town of Lavallette, N.J., on top of the coaster. He told the news outlet that he had climbed up and unfurled the flag to attract attention and awareness for post-Sandy recovery.
His stunt also caught the attention of local police, who weren’t quite as dazzled by his acrobatics. Angelo was handcuffed and escorted through the surf to a waiting police car after he climbed down from the top of the coaster and jumped into a police boat.