So they partnered with Living Lands and Waters to do the heavy lifting.
“[They were] work and tag them with a little buoy here and there and then we came into town with our excavator and the ops here to then pull out with the dive team as they came down and tag the cars for us to then pick them up with our excavator. said Callie Schaser, communications specialist for the nonprofit organization.
Their effort was lucrative.
There are 26 miles of Hamilton County shoreline, and in just four days, 10 cars were pulled from the river.
With 14 in total identified by divers previously, more will resurface in the coming days.
But while crews are spending a week working to preserve and restore the river, the week-long operation, which began last Friday, is not just about clearing debris.
Crews hope the sunken metal could also reveal a treasure trove of evidence.
“We will do anything to solve a crime, even digging up cars from the bottom of a river,” Theetge said.
HCPA dive team commander Chris Fritsch said his unit’s main focus was to help with criminal investigations, hoping some of the recovered vehicles might offer leads in cold cases, people missing and missing or stolen vehicles that have not been recovered.
Some of these cars have been there for 30, 40, 50 years and when they’ve been in the water that long, they’re very, very difficult to identify and understand why they were there,” Fritsch said. “The Cincinnati Investigative Services Unit can run VIN numbers, examine vehicles, get a better view of the upper side of the water.”
The operation ended on Friday, but Fristch said efforts to recover the river will continue.
“From the shore, 160 feet towards the center of the river was covered,” he said. “Obviously more objects or vehicles could have floated further down the river which makes it more difficult and that’s why this is an ongoing project that we need to work on to be fully able to cover everything.”