Virginia Beach pier crash: Car pulled from water
VIRGINIA BEACH — After nearly a week of delays, calm conditions Friday morning on the ocean finally gave officials a chance to recover an SUV that crashed last Saturday morning off a fishing pier in Virginia Beach.
A body was found inside the vehicle, which appears to be that of an adult male, according to Virginia Beach Police spokesman Jodi Saunders.
Around 9:20 AM. A crane barge quickly lifted the red Nissan Kicks upside down from the water onto the ship. Workers then covered it with a tarp while spectators watched from the boardwalk.
The driver has not been identified. Police said earlier this week that the man who was reported missing may be linked to the incident.
“We have strong evidence that they are the same thing, but we won’t know for sure until we go through the medical examination,” Saunders said.
The recovery operation began before dawn with Crofton Industries arriving at 6:15 a.m. Friday. Police and the coroner were at the scene at sunrise, and the barge was placed in the water at the end of the pier. There were also two marine police units in the water, and about a dozen officials were seen standing at the end of the pier.
As of Friday, strong current conditions prevented officials from trying to recover the SUV, which careened along the sidewalk and into the water.
“Visibility was pretty poor,” Saunders said.
She said the vehicle moved northwest “off and around the sidewalk.” She added that it was located earlier in the morning using sonar from a remotely operated vehicle. The SUV did not have a license plate on the front, and the spot at the back of the vehicle where the license plate was located was no longer attached to the vehicle, she said.
At about 9 a.m., divers from Crofton Industries set a hook. At 9:18 a.m., the crane on the barge raised it.
The 74-year-old wooden fishing pier is located between 14th and 15th Streets and extends approximately 650 feet above the ocean.
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The vehicle was upside down approximately 17 feet below the surface and swaying with the current, creating a dangerous situation for divers.
“This is a very dangerous situation,” Saunders said just before the car was lifted out of the water.
The vehicle was moved on a barge to calmer waters for further investigation. Saunders said police will check the vehicle’s identification number “to determine who owned the vehicle and where it came from.”
She added that the forensic team of the Virginia Beach Police Department will exhume the body and identify the passenger.
Dozens of people gathered Friday morning to watch from the boardwalk. Police cordoned off the pier and beach while recovery was underway.
Stacy Parker, 757-222-5125, firstname.lastname@example.org