EVANSVILLE, Ind. (WEHT) — After over a month of lying dormant underwater, two cars were recovered from the Ohio River with help from the Evansville Fire Department and several other local agencies. Evansville Fire Division Chief Mike Larson explained the reason they had to wait so long before removing the vehicles.
“It’s primarily taken so long to get these vehicles out because mother nature hasn’t been cooperating with us very well,” explained Larson. “Weather conditions, the level of the river, the speed of the river and things like that weren’t making safe enough for our divers to go in and hook to the car to be able to retrieve it.”
He says one of the vehicles could have easily caused safety issues if not removed. “This particular vehicle where it was at the mouth of Marina Pointe created a boating hazard that we obviously needed to retrieve,” says Larson.
Evansville Police Department PIO Anna Gray says that vehicle’s backstory involve an underaged girl who had been drinking.
“Luckily she was able to get out and actually swim to shore,” Gray tells us. “Obviously people saw it happen, called 911 for water rescue. The juvenile was intoxicated.”
The second vehicle that was removed Tuesday morning was a couple’s car that had fallen in at the mouth of Pigeon Creek on March 3.
“I think he got confused, was trying actually to put the vehicle in reverse to leave and actually put it in drive and drove right into the river,” said Sgt. Gray. Luckily the female was able to get out and get to shore immediately but the male was actually in the water and was able to grab a hold of a tree and believe the fire department actually had to go and rescue him.”
Skeeter Wayne watched as the cars were pulled from the river. Both his son and grandson helped in the removal efforts.
“Lot of team work that goes on. A lot of cross training, I’m just here observing and seeing the action that takes place,” Skeeter told us. “Trying to protect the environmental side of it and getting the water and everything safely protected.”
The removal came as a joint effort between the Evansville Fire and Police Departments, Tri-State Towing and Audubon Sand & Gravel / Meuth Concrete providing the crane. You can watch raw footage of one of the vehicles being pulled from Marina Pointe below.