Police in Westbrook, Maine, want to get a message out to people who are making the trek to the city to bear witness to the mysterious and hypnotizing ice disk in the Presumpscot River: Look — enjoy its wonder, take pictures of it, stare at it in awe — but please, don’t try to explore it.
“We are all about people coming to check it out, and for some people it might be a once-in-a lifetime opportunity,” Westbrook police Captain Steven Goldberg said. “But park legally. And please, please, please do not go wandering out onto the ice.”
The plea from police comes after a man Wednesday allegedly tied a rope to himself and connected it to a tree before attempting to venture out onto the arctic crop circle.
According to the Portland Press Herald, police stopped the man before he could explore the icy formation, which has made national headlines this week and drawn interest from reporters from as far away as England and Japan.
A video posted by the Press Herald shows the man walking on ice along the riverbank, poking at it with a stick, as he neared the edge of the frozen circle. The man never actually made it onto the ice disk, however.
“He came back to shore as police arrived. He was not arrested, and he was advised that it was not a smart idea, and he went on his way,” Goldberg said in a telephone interview.
So far, Goldberg said the man’s attempt is the only one that’s been reported to police. But Goldberg wouldn’t “rule out that others have tried” to go on the river.
“Never go on the ice in the Presumpscot River. It may be safe for the ducks, but it isn’t for humans. Please share this with everyone, and thanks for your attention to this matter,” police wrote.
On Monday, officials from Westbrook, an old mill city west of Portland, posted several images, taken with a drone, of what they called the “ice disk,” a circular frozen sheet that was slowly spinning in the river and getting bigger.
The “naturally occurring phenomenon” quickly became a local tourist attraction as well as a viral Internet sensation.
By Wednesday, however, the disk’s slow pirouette came to a stop, after the approximately 100-yard arctic buzzsaw got snagged against the river’s edge.
Even though it’s no longer moving, Goldberg said, people have continued to flock to Westbrook to gaze upon the rare occurrence.
He said while the department is too short-staffed to have someone watch over the area full time, a parking enforcement officer has been on hand to deal with the influx of traffic, and officers are giving the area “special attention throughout the day and night.”
“I wouldn’t call it a circus, but it’s not your typical Thursday afternoon. A lot more people have been showing up than usual,” he said. “But those people are not our concern. It’s the people getting a little too adventurous and wandering out.”Steve Annear can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @steveannear.