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Harris County Begins Project To Remove Submerged Cars From Bayous

County officials selected Brays Bayou for the first phase of the project, which aims at recovering about 25 cars. HPD thinks many vehicles were dumped after they were stolen.

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  • As this map indicates, Brays Bayou is the one selected for the first phase of the pilot project, which, according to Harris County officials, aims to recover approximately 20 vehicles. (Photo: Al Ortiz)
    As this map indicates, Brays Bayou is the one selected for the first phase of the pilot project, which, according to Harris County officials, aims to recover approximately 20 vehicles. (Photo: Al Ortiz)
  • Harris County and City of Houston employees, as well as two contractors, worked on recovering a 1987 Buick that was stolen in 1998, as the first vehicle retrieved as part of the pilot project. (Photo: Al Ortiz)
    Harris County and City of Houston employees, as well as two contractors, worked on recovering a 1987 Buick that was stolen in 1998, as the first vehicle retrieved as part of the pilot project. (Photo: Al Ortiz)
  • From left to right, Mark Curran, Assistant Chief of the Houston Police Department, Mike Talbott, Executive Director of the Harris County Flood Control District, and Houston Council Member At-Large Michael Kubosh took part in a press conference to kickstart the pilot project. (Photo: Al Ortiz) (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz)
    From left to right, Mark Curran, Assistant Chief of the Houston Police Department, Mike Talbott, Executive Director of the Harris County Flood Control District, and Houston Council Member At-Large Michael Kubosh took part in a press conference to kickstart the pilot project. (Photo: Al Ortiz) (Photo Credit: Al Ortiz)

The Harris County Flood Control District started a pilot project this Wednesday to remove cars submerged in bayous.

Salvage crews will initially focus on retrieving vehicles from the bottoms of brays and sims bayous.

With the help of a big crane and flotation bags, a professional diver challenged the chilly waters of Brays Bayou to bring to dry land a 1987 Buick that was stolen almost 20 years ago.

It was the first of potentially hundreds of cars that Harris County officials think have been submerged for years.

This is a pilot project funded so far with almost 50,000 dollars by Precinct 2 County Commissioner Jack Morman and the City of Houston.

"We expect to get 20 to 25 vehicles, just depends on the level of difficulty," says Mike Talbott, executive director at the Harris County Flood Control District.

Saltwater Salvage and Apple Towing are the companies the county has contracted with to locate and retrieve the cars.

Jose Dacasa, diver supervisor at Saltwater Salvage, explains they find the vehicles using several methods.

"One of them is side scan sonar and we also use use, you know, our own divers to pinpoint them," notes Dacasa.

Investigators with the Houston Police Department will check the license plate and the VIN number of the cars that are recovered to identify the owner.

HPD will also review the history of the vehicles to determine if they are or may be related to any crimes.

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