Officials: Currents still too strong to retrieve car that plunged from bridge
Divers say currents needs to be below 1.5 mph
For six days, a car been sitting at the bottom of the Ohio River. But the mission to recover the car that plunged from the Combs-Hehl Bridge is too dangerous to try, officials said.
On March 15, a car fell from the bridge and quickly became fully submerged. Campbell County police believe they know the identity of the driver.
Authorities said the vehicle had been located via sonar not far from the bridge, but no passengers had been found in the river.
Divers said the Ohio River is dark and dangerous.
John Hoh with Aquatic Dreams Diving has been a professional diver for years. He’s not with the Boone County Water Rescue Team, but he’s worked missions like one Boone County faces.
“Visibility in the river is pretty much zero,” Hoh said. “It’s less than what you can see your hand in front of your face. So when you’re down in that, you’re trying to do work and focused on the work you’re doing, not what’s coming downstream behind you.”
Hoh said that’s where the danger lies.
“If something comes down and hits you, it could definitely injure you. It could knock you unconscious or it could tangle you up in the lines people that people are holding onto to keep you safe.”
The plan to recover the car has been pushed back, again.
To get the car and the victim inside, rescuers said the current has to be 1.5 mph or slower. On Monday, it measured 2.8 mph.
“What you’re really worried about is that current 2.5 miles (peer hour) current, 3 miles (per hour) current — if you’re a diver and you go underwater, you could be swept away, swept from the location you’re searching for,” said Hoh.
The Boone County Search and Rescue Team said it will use a barge, crane, tow boat and commercial drivers to get the car.
Alysia Irvin remembers the moment the car went inside the water. She was in the middle of the crash commotion.
“I didn’t think it was going to go over once I saw it all happening and then I thought oh man and you see it go over you don’t know what to do,” said Irvin.
Rescuers have to wait as river conditions slowly move in the right direction
“What those people are trying to do is bring closure to the families and figure out what happened and get the car out,” said Hoh.
Crews are hopeful to try to get the car out of the river by the end of this week.