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Diving for sunken junk cars

Officials pull stolen, abandoned vehicles from aqueduct

HESPERIA • The San Bernardino County Sheriff's Rescue Dive team and SANCATT officials faced cold and windy weather to remove stolen and abandoned vehicles submerged in the California Aqueduct on Friday.

The two teams headed out along the aqueduct between Farmington Road in Hesperia and the Los Angeles County line, pulling an estimated eight cars dumped under the water since the last removal in January 2011.

Recently the California Department of Water Resources partially lowered the water level in the local aqueduct, exposing submerged cars and trucks. The sheriff’s department was able to inspect the aqueduct and document the location with aerial photographs and GPS coordinates. Armed with the information, SANCATT officials and members of the dive team headed out to recover the vehicles.

Two divers swam after each vehicle: one to spot the car or truck and one to hook the tow cable to a strong and safe connection to drag the car out. About 10 divers participated in Friday’s dives.

In 2007, the sheriff’s department recovered 25 cars and in 2011 they pulled 30 cars from the aqueduct. Final numbers for Friday’s dive weren’t immediately available.

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