April 10th 2008
Terios can't swim
Perhaps it was under the influence of car advertisments that, sadly, continue to show all terrain vehicles roaring through pristine beach and off-road outback environments, that led a car full of Irish and German tourists to lose a three year old Diahatsu Terios in deep mud some hundreds of metres from the beach at Cockle Bay last Friday.
For brief time the car became a navigation hazard after the occupants were unable to retrieve the vehicle from the advancing tide.
Moke Magnetic, who hired the vehicle, were more than a little dismayed by the vehicle's aquatic predicament and called in Island based Oceanic Maritime Consultants' Mr Peter Illidge. Peter, who is more familiar with commercial diving, heritage surveys, mooring and reef protection marker maintenance, told Magnetic Times, "We've never salvaged a car before".
Peter Illidge aboard a barge towing the Terios
The Cockle Bay mud flats are within Queensland's State Marine Park and as they include very high conservation values, Peter Illidge, was sought by the Queensland Environmental Protection Agency. He said, "The whole idea was that we would surgically remove the car without further damage."
Options to remove the vehicle with other vehicles at low tide was rejected due to the potential for further damage to the delicate mud flat area which is home to thousands of marine creatures.
The incident underlies the ongoing problems of vehicles being taken into sensitive natural areas on Magnetic Island including beachs and mud flats.
The Terios is delivered to Picnic Bay
Mr Illidge said, "We went around on the low tide on Saturday morning and used one and half tonne lift bags." The Terios was sitting in several metres of water but once the bags were inflated it, "popped to the surface and we towed it to the Picnic Bay where we brought it up the boat ramp."
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