Scuba Suit Hero Saves Sebring

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By Ali DeRees

On Wednesday, April 2 senior Shauna Hazime’s red Chrysler Sebring was pushed into Bear Lake after a van was unhitched from the motor home that was towing it. The van, in neutral, rolled into the Sebring, pushing it into the thawing lake.

A crowd gathered around and watched for hours as men from Byers Wrecker struggled to extract the car, which entered the lake around 12:30 p.m.

It was after 3 p.m. when one of the workers brought out an insulated red suit to enter the water and help tie the car to be towed out.

The day was warm, but Bear Lake was still covered in a thin sheet of ice as the suited man carefully lowered himself into the chilled water and continued to clear the ice away from the front of the vehicle.

The audience cheered and clapped as he entered and exited the water.

Wondering who the scuba-diving hero was?

He is none other than Bill Byers of Byers Wrecker.

Byers said these kinds of accidents are not unusual, noting that he’s pulled three to four cars out of Bear Lake before.

“It’s like a catch basin,” Byers said.

According to Byers, the area surrounding the lake leads downward, which makes it easy for vehicles to roll into the lake and also difficult to maneuver a 60,000 lb. truck to a safe position to lift the Sebring.

Byers said there was a large environmental concern when it came to removing the car. Because of its position and damage caused by the rocks, the car could not simply be dragged out for fear of oil and gasoline leaking into the lake, according to Byers.

“Everything was step by step,” Byers said.

The four-hour removal of the Sebring from the lake cost a little over $3,000 and was covered by Hazime’s insurance, according to Byers. If the car had simply been dragged instead of lifted, costs could have been as high as $10,000.

See more photo coverage at facebook.com/theoakpost.