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Excavator Goes For A Swim In Derby

by Eugene Driscoll | Sep 18, 2012 2:27 pm

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Posted to: Derby

Photo: Eugene Driscoll

A large construction machine’s engine died while moving rocks at the base of the Derby dam Monday night, leaving the giant excavator under water by Tuesday.

Only the tip of the excavator’s arm could be seen poking out of the water during high tide Tuesday.

The Derby Dam is off Route 34, across from Apollo Pizza and next to IDA International.

The machine’s plight drew a small crowd of spectators Tuesday, including a Valley Indy follower on Twitter who posted a photo online.

He used #OnlyInDerby as a hash tag.

An official from the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s Emergency Response and Spill Prevention was at the scene Tuesday afternoon monitoring the situation and trying to figure out how they were going to fetch the machine from the water.

Derby Dam owner Joseph Szarmach said the rented machine was being used to move large rocks that had been displaced by water. Szarmach said he had a DEEP permit to do the work.

The machine suddenly stopped working Monday night at about 7 p.m. The engine would not turnover, despite repeated attempts.

“We had used the machine three times. The operator had just dropped a rock and was swinging the (arm) around and the engine just went out. Engaging the starter did nothing,” he said. “We tried to pull it out with a dozer but it didn’t work. We’re just going to have to bring a larger machine to get it out.”

High tide was higher than normal Tuesday thanks to a storm rolling in. The plan is to pluck it out Wednesday.

“We’re going to put a boom around it in case there is any (fuel) leakage, but I don’t think there is any,” Szarmach said.

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