"So we created a dive plan, which took some doing in order to bring it up, because doing it by crane was pretty impractical with where it's at given its depth, because the boat was at 178 feet," he said.
It took some time to plan the salvages and insure the dive, and four-foot waves nearly scuttled the trip when Duperron and company were ready to try it on
The bay calmed down later, so Scuba North owner and seasoned technical diver
It's not the deepest Thorpe has been over 20-plus years and what he figures to be roughly 7,000 dives, including some salvage dives, he said. But it's the deepest he's ever been to retrieve a boat.
Thorpe was at the bottom for about an hour and took an hour and 10 minutes to ascend, he said. He paused every 10 feet starting at 90 feet underwater and waited as part of a process to ensure nitrogen bubbles didn't form in his bloodstream from the massive pressure change.
Recreational divers can't go any deeper than 130 feet, Thorpe said.
Instead of compressed air, Thorpe breathed a mix of oxygen, helium and nitrogen, allowing him to spend longer at the bottom and ascend without an even lengthier decompression process, Duperron said.
Thorpe said he played a small role in the operation, and he and Duperron were just two team members.
Next, it was diver
Those bags lifted the boat 40 feet above the bottom, then the salvage crew towed it to shallower water where the boat could rest on the bottom, Duperron said. That way, divers could reposition the lift bags. They did that three more times until the boat was under 8 feet of water tied to an oil dock piling.
Klifman said dive partner
"Basically this thing has been down there for a couple of months, and we were all just wondering, when the heck is it going to get out of the water? Then thankfully it came together," Klifman said.
Small amounts of fuel did escape the vehicle while being towed, but the salvage team quickly cleaned it up with absorbent material, Duperron said.
There was one problem when the boat turned over while being towed underwater, Duperron said.
That resulted in the windshield being smashed, and Elsenheimer said the boat's new anchor was removed as well. He had several buyers lined up based on pictures showing the condition of the boat on the bottom.
"I called some of the people that were interested in buying it and let them know that it was free, because the windshield was so badly damaged and it had been dragged on the floor of the bay," he said. "I just didn't feel good about selling it at all, so I just gave it away."
Duperron said the boat was in surprisingly good shape, considering the job's aim was salvage and not recovery.
Elsenheimer was frustrated by what he characterized as a lack of communication from the salvage team, an assertion Duperron strongly denied.
More investigation once the boat had been pumped out didn't reveal why it sank, Duperron said.
Elsenheimer and nine others were aboard on
He radioed the
Elsenheimer said he doesn't think the boat sank because 10 people were on board, as some have suggested. Seven of the ten were teenagers and the boat was yacht-certified.
Klifman originally found the sunken boat and filmed and photographed it using a remote-operated vehicle, he said -- that same piece of gear was vital in monitoring underwater work during the salvage, Duperron said.
Klifman posted those photos and videos online for his underwater photography service he calls Blueyes Below, he said. Hundreds of thousands viewed and sharing the images of the boat sitting upright on the bottom.
The boat gained viral fame when someone modified one of Klifman's pictures, adding a campaign flag for Pres.
Now, the saga's over, Elsenheimer agreed.
"I'm sorry the whole thing happened, I don't know what I could have done differently," he said. "It's unfortunate but the chapter is closed, hopefully for everyone on this."
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