Backhoe

Spring Lake Township resident Bernie Lamancusa said a contractor who was installing a seawall at his Petty’s Bayou home mistakenly sank a mini excavator.

SPRING LAKE TWP. — Barb and Bernie Lamancusa view many amazing sights from their waterfront home on Spring Lake’s Petty’s Bayou – swans, sunrises, bald eagles, kayaks, boats and more. But they were stunned by the most recent scene outside their window – a submerged mini excavator.

Due to the high water, the Lamancusas hired Koop’s Landscape & Irrigation company to construct a new seawall in front of their home at 15490 Howard St. While working on the metal seawall Monday afternoon, Coty Koopman, owner of the Holland-based company, drove too far into the bayou and the excavator sank.

Koopman said it was a frightening experience.

“We weren’t planning on going that far,” he said. “We happened to hit a pocket of sand, like a hole, and it slipped right down. I was stuck out there until my guys got out there in their waders.”

Koopman took a canoe to shore on Monday.

Employees of the company from which Koopman had rented the excavator attempted to recover the machine Monday afternoon and evening. They worked until midnight, but the attempts were unsuccessful.

Portland-based Reed & Hoppes, a heavy towing and recovery company, arrived on the scene the next morning trying to recover the bright-yellow machinery from the water.

“It’s been one fiasco after another,” Bernie said.

Barb agreed.

“Can you believe this?” she asked, standing by the water’s edge watching recovery efforts Tuesday morning. “Those things (excavators) are made to go in the water to a certain depth, but not where he had it. This project has turned into a literal nightmare.”

At about 12:30 p.m. Tuesday, using a large boom truck, cables and a strap secured to a neighbor’s tree, the crew dragged the excavator from the bayou and loaded it on a flatbed.

Koopman said his insurance should cover any damages to the leased mini excavator.

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