SANTIAGO, Chile – Police in Chile say they’ve stopped cold a scheme to steal ice from a disappearing glacier.
The plan was to deliver 5 tons of ice carved out of icebergs from the Jorge Montt Glacier to upscale bars and restaurants in the capital for use as ice cubes, authorities said Friday.
The ice was loaded onto a boat and carried to the town of Caleta Tortel, and then put on a refrigerator truck, with plans to drive it over gravel and dirt roads, ferries and highways, a trip of more than 1,400 miles to Santiago.
Instead, the ice never made it out of Chile’s southern Patagonia, where the unidentified driver is under arrest for robbery, regional Forestry Director Juan Eduardo Barrientos said.
Barrientos said the company had been calling various public officials in hopes of liberating the ice. Instead, it’s been put in tanks for use as irrigation on farms suffering from drought.
The Jorge Montt Glacier, part of the protected Bernardo O’Higgins national park, was recently shown through time-lapse photos to be shrinking faster than any other in Chile, partly because it is a tidewater glacier that calves icebergs into a particularly deep fjord.
Tourists have made boat trips to the icebergs for years, with some operators serving whiskeys with ice carved from the icebergs. But never have they taken 5 tons at a time.