Ice too thick on Connecticut River for Coast Guard

The Coast Guard's ice cutter, Bollard, will be back out Thursday or Friday, working in tandem with a second cutter from New York.

NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The treacherous conditions and thick ice pilled feet high along the Connecticut River was even too much for the U.S. Coast Guard to handle.

Petty Officer Benjamin Lind set the scene before the ice cutter, Bollard, was forced to turn around Tuesday, unable to break ice further up the river.

“I have never seen anything like it,” Lind told News 8. “Looked like something out of a movie – huge sheets of ice rushing down the river.”

Bollard is now docked safely in her home port where she will stay at least until Thursday.

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“There is a certain density at which we are unable to operate and there are times you just need to bring it home,” Lind said. “It’s just like hitting a rock.”

The Coast Guard is now waiting on a second ice cutter to arrive from New York before they’ll tackle the jammed river again. That ice cutter will then work in tandem with Bollard within a day or two in order to bust up the thick sheets of ice plaguing the river, its banks and surrounding homes.

Neighbors along the Connecticut River say it’s frightening to consider what could happen.

Related Content: Ice jam creating huge problems for residents along Connecticut River

The Coast Guard says the longer the ice sits stagnant in the freezing temperatures, the harder it becomes to break up as flooding fears grow. The rushing water underneath the ice needs a place to go and will flow rapidly when ice breaks, giving it space to move.

“I’m sure there could be massive damage,” Lind said.

At this point, no one is certain as to when the ice will break.

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