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Crews Begin Demolishing Seaside Heights Roller Coaster Swallowed By The Sea

SEASIDE HEIGHTS, N.J. (CBSNewYork) -- Workers in Seaside Heights have started demolishing the Jet Star roller coaster that plunged off Casino Pier and into the ocean during Superstorm Sandy.

The work began Tuesday afternoon after Britain's Prince Harry finished touring the Jersey shore. The project is expected to take about 48 hours to complete, said Casino Pier spokeswoman Toby Wolf.

"Ripping it out of there and getting everything out of the ocean," Wolf said. "[It's] pretty close to shore and that's a safety hazard for swimmers, surf."

PHOTOS: Demolition Begins On Jet Star Roller Coaster

For many, the roller coaster was once a place on Casino Pier they came to ... for fun.

"It was one of my favorite roller coaster ... or rides on the boardwalk, so I will miss it," Taylor Cirigliano of Middletown, N.J., told CBS 2's Christine Sloan.

"I am very sad about the roller coaster coming down because I went on it as a child. My kids went on it and my grand children went on it, so seeing it come down rips a part of me out," added Rosemarie Costal of Seaside Heights.

How the roller coast got in the water is a bad story that everyone seems to know, but Mayor William Akers said its removal is progress. Akers told CBS 2's Sloan the boardwalk, being constructed with pine wood, will be complete by Memorial Day weekend.

"You will be able to access entire boardwalk and you will be able to access entire beach," Akers said.

A section of the coaster will be preserved to serve as a permanent memorial when the damaged pier is eventually rebuilt.

"When we rebuild Casino Pier, we will have a portion of that as a tribute," Wolf said, adding, "We will have some of our rides open this summer, probably 15 to 18 is what we're looking at, including a new ride we're bringing in."

But will there be another roller coaster?

"Personally, I hope it includes a roller coaster, but nothing is set in stone yet," Wolf said.

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported Tuesday, the jaws of a red and white crane lifted out twisted metal chunks of the coaster and stacked them on a nearby barge.

Crews Begin Demolishing Seaside Heights Roller Coaster

The remnants of the Jet Star coaster have become an iconic symbol of Sandy's damage in the months since the storm struck.

Jet Star Roller Coaster
Seaside Heights roller coaster dismantled, May 14, 2013. (credit: Alex Silverman/WCBS 880)

It has drawn countless onlookers, and in January a man was arrested for climbing to the top of the coaster and affixing a flag before being talked down and arrested by police.

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