It took 4 hours to find truck and get it out of the canal

Photos by Tom Rivers: Marine deputies with the Orleans County Sheriff’s Office – Jim DeFilipps, left, and Jim Burke – arrive in a boat about 9 p.m. That boat was at Lake Alice in Carlton.

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 18 August 2017 at 9:28 am

MEDINA – There was no dive team available, or boat with a working sonar.

But law enforcement was determined to get a black truck out of the dark water of the Erie Canal.

It was a tough task done in front of a crowd of onlookers, some standing for five hours before the truck was finally pulled out of the water at 12:45 a.m. last night by Lyons Collision. It also was raining for much of the recovery effort, including a downpour at times.

Law enforcement wanted the truck out of the canal to limit the hazardous fluids leaking into the water. They were also concerned the bottom of a boat might hit the truck with the vessel becoming damaged.

With the Niagara County dive team unavailable, local officials turned to three experienced volunteer scuba divers, including John Olinger, left, his fiancé Laura Bentley and their friend Eric Watson.

Devin Pahuta, a sheriff’s deputy, drags a rope with a magnet through the water, trying to find the truck. At first the magnet latched on to a rock. That proved to be a half hour waste of time as divers tried to find the truck in the dark water. The divers said they could only see about a foot underwater.

The boat search back and forth on the canal about 200 yards east of the lift bridge on Route 63. A current would push the truck about 100 yards from the lift bridge.

Eric Watson, John Olinger and Laura Bentley work together to try to find the black pickup.

A crowd stood for several hours watching the recovery efforts.

Medina firefighter Chris Seefeldt watches from the canal bank.

With no working sonar on the boat, deputies dragged this magnet through the water, trying to find the truck.

At 10:45 p.m., the deputies were ready to call off the search and resume this morning. But Jeff Lyons from Lyons Collision asked to have a chance.

Jeff Lyons is pictured on the boat at about 11 p.m. After Lyons got on board, it took about 25 minutes for Lyons and the deputies to locate the truck.

Then it proved difficult to attach cables onto the sunken vehicle. It was another hour before Lyons Collision could start pulling the truck to shore.

The truck was pulled out at about 12:45 a.m.

The driver has been charged with driving while intoxicated. Medina police haven’t released the driver’s name. The driver wasn’t injured and able to get out of an open window through the driver’s door.

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