A 1987 Buick Regal was pulled from Brays Bayou yesterday, as a $49,500 pilot program to remove about 127 vehicles thought to be sunk along the bottom of several of Houston’s major bayous revved up. Divers working at the crossing of S. Wayside Dr. attached bright yellow floaties to the sedan to help it swim to the surface before it was lifted onto the shore, where police identified it as reported stolen in 1998. Mike Talbott of the Harris County Flood Control District expects that crews will be able to remove some 20 to 25 cars before the money runs out.
The Buick is one of the drowned cars mapped by Texas Equusearch in 2011, as the nonprofit used a sonar-equipped boat to look for a missing woman in a Black Dodge Avenger (later found in a retention pond off Old Galveston Rd.). Assistant Chief Mark Curran of HPD told ABC 13 that most of the cars at the bottom of Brays and Sims Bayous were probably joyridden and then dumped. Stolen vehicles have been found in other Houston-area water bodies, including that 1985 Fiero uncovered in 2011 during the extended drought which brought down Lake Houston water levels.
Floating yellow containment booms spanned the waterway downstream of yesterday morning’s operation to catch any oil or gasoline that might leak from the vehicles during the removal process:
Steve Hupp of the Bayou Preservation Association reported no visible leaks, but did report seeing fish making a hasty exit from the vehicle as it was raised. Hupp also snapped this shot of the action from above, showing the swaths of fabric that came up from the bayou bottom along with the car:
A second vehicle was removed later in the day: a 1985-ish Hyundai Excel which will likely be listed by HPD as unidentifiable.
- Officials want to solve the mysteries of submerged vehicles in Houston’s bayous [abc13]
- Sunken cars pulled from Houston bayou graves after Channel 2 Investigation [Click2Houston]
- Harris County Begins Project To Remove Submerged Cars From Bayous [Houston Public Media]
- Previously on Swamplot: Your Treasure Map to 100-Plus Cars and Trucks Rusting in Sims and Brays Bayous