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Hours of effort to recover stolen car in Gulf near John's Pass | News

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Hours of effort to recover stolen car in Gulf near John's Pass

Madeira Beach, Florida -- An SUV has been recovered from the Gulf near John's Pass after hours of effort.

Beach goers got a view they never expected on their vacation.

"It's a story I can look back and tell the people back in Layfette," said vacationer Eric Benoit. "I woke up on the beach and there was a car in the water."

"Maybe a shark or a whale, but not a vehicle in the ocean," said Jerry Little. "It was amazing," said Jerry Little.

Little was vacationing and woke up to find an SUV floating in the water right outside of her balcony and followed her first instinct.

"We didn't know if we should go in or what so I called 911 they told us to stay out of the water and that's what we did," said Little.


Diving teams, the Coast Guard, Seminole Fire Rescue, tow trucks and the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office all worked together get the Isuzu Vehicross out of the water.

The operation took lots of manpower, several attempts and close to 10 hours, but crews managed to get it out of the Gulf.

"It was very challenging this morning we had dive crews in the water attempting to flip over the vehicle, our marine unit was on a boat attempting to flip the vehicle over so that it was easier to pull out of the water," Cristen Rensel, spokesperson for Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

Tread marks along the sand marked a path leading straight into the water.

Deputies say it appears as though the stolen vehicle was ditched since no one was inside. The thief caused an extensive operation to recover a single SUV.


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