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Update: Submerged vehicle successfully extracted from Poplar River

The Chevy Trailblazer that has been submerged in the Poplar River since July 12 has been removed.

Attempts to remove the vehicle began at 9 a.m. this morning, September 5, and continued until just after 2 p.m. when Lake City Towing of Superior, Wisconsin was finally able to extract the car.

Cook County Sheriff Pat Eliasen said the vehicle’s location was determined by side scan sonar operated by Tom Crossman of Crossman Consulting. Lake City Towing then used “just about every piece of equipment they brought with” to remove the car.

Finally, after a number of attempts Lake City Towing was able to get a large grappling hook attached and pulled the Trailblazer up to Highway 61.

Sheriff Pat Eliasen said the car was completely demolished, not from the water, but from crashing on the rocks. Fortunately, he said the gas tank remained intact and there was no evidence of any fluids leaking from the vehicle.

The car had been in the river since July 12, when a 1995 Roadster motorhome crashed on Highway 61 in Lutsen, nearly tumbling into the Poplar River, 40 feet below. The motorhome’s driver and passenger suffered minor injuries and the motor home was removed from the east embankment by Lake City Towing.

However, the vehicle being towed behind the RV, a Chevy Trailblazer, disappeared into the Poplar River.

On August 3, St Louis County Search & Rescue, assisted by the Cook County Sheriff’s Office determined the vehicle’s location in the river.  The car’s location was found through use of a special large magnet.

Cook County Sheriff’s Office spokesperson Valerie Marasco said removal of the car from the river was delayed as the sheriff’s office awaited a decision from the motorhome owner’s insurance company of whether the cost of extraction will be covered by insurance. Marasco said the insurance company is covering the expense of the extraction.

Sheriff Eliasen thanked all involved in the salvage operation—Lake City Towing, Crossman Consulting, the Minnesota State Patrol, the Hovland STOP Team and Lutsen Fire/EMS.

Photos courtesy of Cook County Sheriff's Office