Eau Claire (WQOW) - It's no fish tale, but it's a story that will be told for years to come, pulling a bulldozer from frozen Lake Wissota
Crews worked for close to 30 hours to remove the bulldozer that went through the ice a week ago.
It all started when the operator was trying to prepare a track for a snowmobile race last Thursday. The machine went through the ice.
The bulldozer went in the water about 700 feet from shore, so crews had to drag it to shore before lifting it out.
The process hit a few snags along the way. First they found out the bulldozer had sunk into the mud, then cutting a path in the ice to run a cable through took eight hours longer than expected.
The bulldozer also hit the old river bank on the bottom and a piece of debris believed to be a fifty five gallon drum filled with concrete.
Closer to shore they had to widen the hole in the ice. Finally, a back hoe pulled the machine out of the water.
"The dozer is in remarkably good shape," said Dan Koich who helped pull the bulldozer out. "There don't appear to be any dings or dents. There don't appear to be any visible damage too it. We know the electronics in it are shot and it will take a lot to repair that. But other than that, it's undamaged."
One of the more interesting things found after it was pulled out were that the blanket the driver was wearing was still on the seat and the bulldozer was still in gear.
The bulldozer was taken to a heated storage facility in Lake Hallie where it will warm up and worked on.
Koich said that the driver of the bulldozer will not be fined by the DNR, but he could be responsible for the bill to recover it. The total cost is estimated to be about $15,000.
UPDATE: 7:15 p.m. Our reporter on the scene says the bulldozer has been pulled out of the lake successfully. It's now on shore. We'll have a full report on the recovery tonight at 10.
Lake Wissota (WQOW) - If there's a will, there's a way. Efforts to lift a 10 ton bulldozer out of Lake Wissota continued today after plans went awry yesterday.
The push and pull to get a 10-ton bulldozer out of icy waters came to a halt yesterday after the dozer's blades hit an object under water. Dan Koich, who is helping to get the bulldozer out of Lake Wissota, said, "Video cameras indicate, it looks like a 55 gallon dram filled with concrete that appears to have cable running from it. We don't know what it is. We don't think it's old moorings from the yacht club. We don't know. We can't see very clearly underneath the water to tell what it is." He said yesterday, it wasn't long after pulling the dozer for 200 feet that the blades hit an underwater shelf.
Koich said, "The blade of the dozer is stuck in the embankment and tied up with this barrel and these cables. Right now, we're figuring out a technique to using this 30 foot long log to use it as a fulcrum to lift the cable in a more vertical manner and that will hopefully help pull up the dozer out of the riverbed.
Koich said the brand new bulldozer is worth up to $150,000 and said to get it out of the lake is costly. He said, "The estimate right now on this removal process is $15,000. There have been a lot of donations, a lot of people helping. But it's still an expensive process."
Dan Koich said the bulldozer sank five feet deep in mud in the river channel since yesterday.