OHP recovering sunken cars in navigation channel

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Reported by: Farron Salley
Updated: 11/14/2013 10:16 am Published: 11/13/2013 7:45 pm

FOX23 had the exclusive look at the equipment Oklahoma Highway Patrol was using to recover sunken cars in a navigation channel in Rogers County Wednesday morning.

The diving expedition took place off of Highway 412. FOX23 had an exclusive peek at the side scan sonar, which allows troopers to survey objects underwater.

By using the scan sonar, troopers are able to see pickup trucks and see whole images of vehicles that are emerged underwater. The vehicles the troopers were looking at on Wednesday had been underwater for several years.

"With this sonar, we can see pickup trucks, we can see cars, we can see whole images of the vehicle underwater,” Capt. George Brown said.

FOX23 was the only station to ride along with the marine enforcement division.

"With this new equipment, it just gives us another tool to find things that normally back in the day we wouldn't have been able to find because we wouldn't be able to see the vehicle from water,” Ben Chapman, a marine enforcement division member said.

The troopers targeted the water here because it's isolated and it's more difficult for OHP to pull the vehicles out once they found them.

"There's a lip on the end of the ramp where the edge is a couple of feet deep, so once we get the vehicles up to that certain ledge then it’s hard to get them over," Brown said.

FOX23 watched for over two hours as they pulled out a red Chevrolet pickup.

"We've been in contact with Broken Arrow police," Brown said. "They do have a case on file for this pickup and the truck now belongs to an insurance company."

The pickup truck was reportedly stolen seven years ago.

"I think we can speculate now that any of the other vehicles underwater can possibly be stolen as well," Brown said.

With 17 more vehicles submerged underwater, troopers are anxious to see what else they will find.

"Some of the integrity of the vehicle is lost obviously with the water and the debris with years of being down there," Brown said. "The structural integrity of the vehicle is weakening."

To get the vehicles out of the water, troopers have to use airbags to float the vehicles that are sunk about 20 feet below.

Troopers say they'll be out here again Thursday.

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