Why authorities stalled for 27 days in hauling sunken car out of Dora Creek

NOT RESPONSIBLE: The Toyota Seca hauled out of the water at Dora Creek on Friday by the RMS after soaking for 27 days. Picture: Supplied

NOT RESPONSIBLE: The Toyota Seca hauled out of the water at Dora Creek on Friday by the RMS after soaking for 27 days. Picture: Supplied

A CAR remained submerged in Dora Creek for 27 days because the circumstances surrounding the incident absolved three authorities of the responsibility of removing the vehicle.

The car, a white Toyota Corolla Seca, was hauled from the water by Roads and Maritime Services on Friday.

Even after completing the job, the RMS maintained it had not been obliged to remove the car, but did so as a public service.

The three authorities who might reasonably be expected to be responsible for removing the vehicle were Lake Macquarie City Council, the Water Police, and the RMS.

Each authority was contacted by Fairfax Media a fortnight after the vehicle was reported submerged off Newport Road, near the bridge, on Sunday, January 22.

Each authority said it was somebody else’s responsibility to extract the car. All three were apparently correct.

Water police divers immediately checked that there were no occupants in the vehicle. They also deemed the car not to be a navigational hazard.

Because the vehicle had not been reported stolen, nor involved in illegal activities, Water Police were not responsible for its removal.

The RMS said it was not responsible because the car was not a navigational hazard.

And because the car was submerged in a tributary, the council was not responsible.

“We still haven’t actually ascertained who is responsible,” one authority told Fairfax Media.

The RMS said it opted to remove the car after “taking residents’ concerns into consideration”.

“A professional contractor was engaged to remove the vehicle to ensure the safe removal of the vehicle and no contamination to the creek,” they said.

“The vehicle was deemed abandoned by NSW Police and of nil value by Lake Macquarie City Council rangers and, as such, has been disposed of in accordance with the Impounding Act 1993.”

Resident Phil Fisher, of Bonnells Bay, said he was “grateful the bloody car has finally been pulled out” but questioned how such a stalemate could have occurred.

SINKING FEELING: Mystery still surrounds how the car came to a watery end in Dora Creek. The vehicle has not been reported stolen. Picture: David Stewart

SINKING FEELING: Mystery still surrounds how the car came to a watery end in Dora Creek. The vehicle has not been reported stolen. Picture: David Stewart

The story Why action stalled over car in creek first appeared on Newcastle Herald.

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