Muddy $250,000 digger retrieved in $20,000 operation

AN EXCAVATOR worth about a quarter of a million dollars has been successfully pulled from the muddy bottom of Gatakers Bay boat ramp.

On Tuesday the excavator was conducting works on the popular ramp when it hit a soft spot and sank.

Crews tried frantically on Tuesday evening to retrieve the machine but it succumbed to the rising tide.

Heavy duty operation company Clayton's Towing Service was deployed from Gympie on Wednesday morning to remove the machine.

They used a smaller excavator to dig around the sunken machine and then pulled it out with a mega-tow.

Clayton's Towing operations manager Mike Clayton said everything went smoothly.

"We only had around an hour to work with because of the tides," he said.

Mr Clayton said the excavator was new and estimated it cost a quarter of a million dollars.

He said the recovery operation would cost about $20,000.

A crowd of more than 100 onlookers were held back from the scene while the recovery operation took place.

Mr Clayton said the excavator was "dead now".

"It won't go again - it was totally under."

Department of Environment and Heritage Protection regional manager Chris Hill said an EHP officer attended the site to confirm that measures were in place to prevent the release of fuel and oil into the water.

"Two EHP staff attended the site... to monitor the excavator being removed," he said.

"At this stage there is no indication any pollution has occurred."

 

The Cat excavator rises from the mud at Gatakers Bay boat ramp.
The Cat excavator rises from the mud at Gatakers Bay boat ramp. Alistair Brightman


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