Miami, Florida (WFOR) — Teams from the Miami-Dade police and Miami police dive units are currently combing the murky depths of a lake in Doral. This operation stems from suspicions that up to 30 submerged cars may lie at the lake’s floor.
Shortly after 10 a.m., a recovery vehicle successfully retrieved the initial car from the water. This underwater exploration is centered around the vicinity of NW 90th Avenue and 13th Terrace, located not far from CBS News Miami studios.
Doral law enforcement authorities disclosed on Sunday that their attention was drawn to the underwater vehicles following a search conducted by the volunteer dive group, United Search Corps.
A statement from the Doral police read, “We have received information that a privately-operated search company has potentially identified multiple sunken vehicles in the region of 9064 NW 13th Terrace. While we are unable to verify this currently, we are committed to gathering more information in the upcoming days and collaborating with various entities to probe this situation.”
Taking charge of the search and retrieval process is now in the hands of the Miami-Dade police, who were also informed about the submerged cars over the weekend.
Detective Alvaro Zabaleta, a police spokesperson, elaborated, "On Sunday, we received a report from a citizen who had been diving in the area. He claimed to have spotted what seemed like several dozen vehicles submerged in this lake. In response to this information, our dive unit immediately teamed up with other units within the police department and Miami-Dade Fire Rescue to orchestrate this operation, aiming to recover all the vehicles."
- The first vehicle extracted from the water has been identified as a 2002 Nissan Ultima, and it has been confirmed as stolen.
- Zabaleta commented on the likely nature of the vehicles, saying, “We’re anticipating that the vehicles we find here have been deliberately abandoned, or were stolen and discarded in the lake after being taken for a joy ride. These are the scenarios we’re most likely dealing with.”
- In case any of the retrieved vehicles are connected to ongoing death investigations, homicide detectives are on standby. However, there’s currently no information suggesting these cases will escalate to that level.
Zabaleta expressed the hope that removing the vehicles from the water will aid in concluding open investigations.
Zabaleta emphasized the potential impact of retrieving the submerged vehicles, stating, “By bringing these vehicles to the surface, we aim to provide closure for numerous open cases. Whether it’s related to theft, joyriding, or any unforeseen connections to other incidents, we’re committed to thoroughly investigating each angle.”
The operation involves a meticulous process. Divers, equipped with specialized equipment, navigate the murky waters to locate and secure each vehicle. Recovery vehicles are then deployed to carefully extract the cars from the depths, ensuring minimal disturbance to the lake’s ecosystem.
Local residents have shown a mix of surprise and curiosity as the operation unfolds. “It’s quite the sight to see them pulling cars out of the water. I never would have imagined there could be so many down there,” remarked a nearby resident who frequently walks along the lake’s shoreline.
As the investigation continues, authorities are urging anyone with potential information or tips about the submerged vehicles to come forward. They believe that community involvement could play a pivotal role in piecing together the puzzle of how these cars ended up at the bottom of the lake.
“We’re appealing to anyone who might have witnessed suspicious activity around the lake, or who possesses any knowledge about these abandoned or stolen vehicles. Every bit of information, no matter how seemingly insignificant, could contribute to our efforts,” Zabaleta stated, underlining the importance of collaborative efforts between law enforcement and the community.
While the initial recovery has yielded one stolen vehicle, the ongoing operation is poised to shed light on a multitude of unresolved cases. The investigation remains fluid, with authorities focused on ensuring the thorough retrieval, assessment, and examination of each recovered vehicle. As the sunken cars are brought to the surface, the hope is that this endeavor will bring not only answers but also a sense of resolution for both law enforcement and those impacted by the mysterious disappearance of their vehicles.