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Authorities recover SUV from Spokane River

UPDATED: Mon., April 9, 2012, 12:43 p.m.

Emergency crews recovered a mid-sized SUV from the Spokane River this morning after it was spotted upside down in the water downstream from the Maple Street Bridge.

The Spokane Fire Department water rescue team and Spokane County sheriff’s divers went to the scene. Divers found no one inside the vehicle, said Assistant Fire Chief Brian Schaeffer.

Rescuers launched boats into the high-flowing river to reach the location of the vehicle, which is partially on the bank.

Schaeffer said the SUV went down more than 300 feet of steep embankment from Ohio Avenue. It was registered to an owner in Western Washington, but was not reported stolen, he said.

Crews initially gathered at Summit Boulevard and West Ohio Avenue on the north bank of the river west of the Maple Street Bridge after the call about 8 a.m., but the boats were launched from an access point along the river at the west end of Water Avenue in Peaceful Valley.

A spill of oil and gasoline was reported to the Washington Department of Ecology.

Schaeffer said the episode, while not an emergency, became a good training exercise for water rescue personnel because they were able to undertake maneuvers more slowly than if a life was at risk.

“It was very good practice,” he said.


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