Dive team fishes two vehicles, one stolen years ago, from Lisbon river

Lisbon — It has become almost routine for the Taftville/Yantic volunteer fire departments’ dive team to be called to the Lisbon boat launch for a car that accidentally rolled into the Shetucket River.

The team brought 18 members, including divers, a boat driver and support staff to the boat launch at 6:35 Monday evening to assist the Lisbon Fire Department in retrieving a Toyota SUV that accidentally had rolled into the river and sank in the deepwater boat launch on the Lisbon incinerator access road.

Taftville Fire Chief Timothy Jencks said the dive team used sonar to locate the car, and the image “looked like it had a shadow.”

But that was no shadow. When the divers went down to retrieve the first vehicle, they were surprised to find a second car — unoccupied — in the same area. A heavy equipment wrecker had to be called in to retrieve the second waterlogged vehicle.

Police later checked the Vehicle Identification Number on the second car, a Honda CRV, and found that it had been reported stolen about 10 years ago, according to Troop E in Montville. State police are investigating and had no additional information Tuesday.

The entire retrieval operation took more than three hours. Photos of the operation, including one of the sonar image, are posted on the Taftville department’s Facebook page.

Lisbon Fire Chief Mark Robinson could not be reached for comment Tuesday evening.

Jencks said this was the second time Taftville/Yantic divers have recovered a stolen vehicle in the river off the Lisbon boat launch. About 18 months to two years ago, the team was doing a training dive in an area not far from the boat launch, and a diver was surprised to spot a license plate. It was attached to a stolen car.

“This makes it four vehicles we pulled out of there in 10 years,” Jencks said.

c.bessette@theday.com

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