FOR 24 hours or so his or her crown seemed set to slip, but last night the world could once again acclaim Nessie as the planet’s only genuine freshwater monster.

Nessie’s legions of fans around the globe were aghast when a possible usurper was declared in Alaska, and the internet went into meltdown as video footage showed what appeared to be a slithering, slimy 15-ft long creature covered in ice snaking its way through the River Chena.

It has to be said that the American witnesses had a point, as the footage was very convincing. Some reports even claimed that Nessie had escaped from Loch Ness and swum all the way to Alaska.

The prestigious Good Morning America programme on the ABC channel interrupted its coverage of the monstrous US election to speculate on the ‘monster’, quoting a ‘Loch Ness local’ as saying he believed in such strange creatures.

In response to the video and the possibility that Nessie had emigrated, hoteliers in parts of the Scottish Highlands were said to be reaching for their smelling salts and contemplating bankruptcy.

VisitScotland were said to be preparing a million pound campaign to claim that we still have the real Nessie, and First Minister Nicola Sturgeon was reported to be closeted with advisers in preparation for the Unionist media asking about the latest blow to Scotland’s status – well, they ask her about every other piece of nonsense…

Then suddenly the news came from the Alaskan Bureau of Land Management that the ‘monster’ was almost certainly a piece of water-sodden rope covered in ‘frazil ice’ that had been caught on the pier of a nearby bridge.

So Nessie lives again! Well, perhaps not, but he or she has seen off giant worms in a lake in Iceland, Nahuelito ‘the plesiosaur’ in Patagonia in Argentina, Isshii in Japan’s Lake Ikeda and Opogogo in Lake Okanagan in

British Columbia to still reign supreme as the world’s most famous freshwater lake monster.

It was the Alaskan Bureau’s own footage, shot by Craig McCaa and Ryan Delaney of their Fairbanks office, that sparked the hysteria, with people taking to social media to speculate that it was anything from an escaped Nessie to, ahem, a sturgeon.

On Facebook, Ross Doyle wrote: “The people who claim to see gills, fins, nose, eyes, head, tentacles, and so on, have an very active imagination.”

The conspiracy theorists – a species that is not unknown in the USA – were having none of that. Eric Buxton wrote: “I don’t buy it, tell the truth y’all caught a alien life form and the govt is making y’all be quiet about it.” Though of course he could just be joking…

Mairi Reid weighed in for Scotland: “Not even the size of our Nessie’s big toe. A bit of ice-covered debris in the current. Good try.”

Eventually the Bureau of Land Management had to ‘fess up. Alaska Department of Fish and Game Tanana River Management Biologist Klaus Wuttig told the local press that the video looks “really cool” but said the reality is “not that exciting” as it’s a piece of rope stuck to a bridge pier.

Wuttig said that cold temperatures at night allowed frazil ice – a kind of loose, slushy ice that forms on water – to stick to the rope, which caused it to float to the surface.

He said: “It looks like it’s swimming but it’s actually stationary and just wading in the current. The ice looks segmented because of the current of the river.

“It looks like it’s swimming upstream. But it’s not organic.”

For which news all Scotland surely thanks him.

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