The forklift being pulled from its watery depths on Monday by Hanson Maritime Co and Western Marine Construction  (Photo/Lee Hanson)

Crews removed a 140,000 pound forklift that sank to 70 feet after rolling off the dock at Samson Tug and Barge last Thursday (1-17-19).

The Taylor “bull” forklift is used to move shipping containers. Sitka Police Department received a call shortly after 2 p.m. on Thursday that the forklift had rolled into the water with the operator inside.  According to the dispatch report, people on scene were able to rescue the operator before EMS arrived.

KCAW spoke with Lee Hanson, owner of Hanson Maritime Co, who said he and his team did a preliminary dive Thursday night. The machine was leaking oil, and the area was isolated with containment boom to mitigate pollution.  On Friday, working jointly with Western Marine Construction, they applied temporary patches where oil was leaking, and took measurements so they could make the proper length of rigging to attach to a crane to remove the forklift.

After doing the math, Hanson said they needed to wait for the lowest tides, ultimately lifting the forklift out of the water on Monday (1/21/19).