Dumped cars removed from Waikato River by Waikato Regional Council
Four vehicles were removed from the Waikato River on Friday afternoon as part of an operation organised by Waikato Regional Council.
What was intended to be the removal of one vehicle for an insurance company turned into a mission when three others were found.
Residents gathered in Hamilton East's Hammond Park, Riverlea, with their iPads taking pictures of the operation.
Waikato Regional Council staff, removal trucks and a dive squad were at the scene.
"It was planned with an insurance company to retrieve a vehicle that found its way into the river a few months back," Waikato Regional Council senior harbourmaster Chris Breddenbeck said.
"We took the opportunity to clean up the river whilst we were removing the vehicles.
"Cars are pollutants that present fuel and oil into the river, and the dumped cars themselves are pretty awful, too."
The vehicles were tied together with large hooks and strong ropes and towed out.
Breddenbeck couldn't confirm if the vehicles were stolen, but said it was highly likely.
"When cars end up in the river, more than likely they have been dumped or crashed. We assume probably stolen, but we don't know until we talk to police."
Breddenbeck said one of their biggest operations in car removals from the Waikato River was in 2016 in Pukete.
He thought nine or 10 vehicles were removed from the Hamilton north suburb.
"I know a lot of those had been stolen and, let's just say, they looked like they had been in there a long time."