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The car in the lake

Post by Kathleen Merryman / The News Tribune on Aug. 13, 2008 at 1:00 pm with No Comments »
August 13, 2008 1:00 pm

Let’s call it Word on the Water today.

I’ve been at Wapato Park this morning, watching a Metro Parks crew try to pull a long-submerged car out of the lake. They’ve broken for lunch and expect to be back on the job around 1 p.m. It’s interesting, amusing and mildly exciting. I mean, how often, outside of the movies, do you get to see a mystery car pulled out of the water?

If you’re having a lazy afternoon and can break away, the action’s by the bath house off of Sheridan and South 72nd St.

This car came to light, literally, when a park district contractor doused the lake with an alum solution to trap algae-friendly phosphates in the sediment on the bottom.

The first thing the dump did was kill all the carp in the lake. Next it cleared the algae out of the water, giving the lake a lovely tropical clarity. For the first time in years, you could see everything all the way down to its 12-foot maximum depth.

Spotters found bikes, televisions, shopping carts, a plastic leg, and, near the bath house, the car.

The Tacoma-Pierce County Health Department has a no-swimming order on the lake. That means the crew has to get it out without sending anyone into the water to attach the chain. That’s a problem, because the doors are closed and the windows are rolled up.

Josh Azinger has been trying to s nag it with a hook on a heavy chain attached to a Bobcat on the shore. So far, they’ve been able to turn the car toward shore. And they’ve pulled off the bumper.

The car is a Honda with Oregon plates renewed in November of 2005. Crew leader David Horstman called the plate number in to the Tacoma Police Department, which is tracing it.

I’m heading back to the lake with Peter Haley. I’ll introduce you to some of the crew and the spectators, and let you know how the operation ends.

Meanwhile, we hope you enjoy Peter’s photos, taken from the crew’s row boat.

UPDATE: They’ve given up for the day and are mulling over how to proceed. More to come.

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