This morning a helicopter lifted a 2010 Subaru Outback that has spent roughly 19 months in the Rogue River back to dry land so the car could be hauled away.
A Sikorsky heavy-lift helicopter owned by Croman Corp. hoisted the car, battered and covered in mud and plants, into a field where a tow truck could reach it safely.
The lift took about 10 minutes, but the planning had taken months. Waterway Recovery, owned by Mark White and Jackson County Commissioner John Rachor, coordinated today's effort.
"This was not a standard, everyday kind of thing," said Brian Beattie, operations director at Croman Corp.
But it did go smoothly, he noted. A cost estimate was not immediately available.
The ragged tale of how the car ended up in the river began March 7, 2011, when 36-year-old Kate McKay Boone drove the car into the river at Valley of the Rogue State Park in a suicide attempt. She was rescued and ultimately convicted of second-degree disorderly conduct and resisting arrest, both misdemeanor charges linked to her behavior that night, and fined $135.
Her insurance company was responsible for removing the car from the water, but high spring flows initially, difficulty in locating the submerged vehicle and concerns about damaging the bank when towing the car ashore had delayed the recovery.
"The car belongs to the insurance company now," Jackson County Sheriff's Department spokeswoman Andrea Carlson said.
A section of the Rogue River Greenway and hiking trails in the state park were closed for about half an hour while the submerged car was lifted out of the water.
A group of campers had gathered on a road in the park to watch the recovery mission.
"The entertainment they provide at the park is amazing," joked Jan Ross, of Ocean Shores, Wash.