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After Ike, vessel salvage and cleanup begins

Hundreds of boats — many worth more than some people’s homes — were found scattered across Galveston, Texas after Hurricane Ike roared through recently, according to a report in The Galveston County Daily News.

While working to clear paths for rescue crews, vessels were unceremoniously moved into piles along the sides of roads. One Galveston man, whose new fishing boat Hot Sauce was left tied to the dock at the marina, is now — dock and all — resting on a shoulder of Interstate 45, according to the report.

Now boat salvage crews, who have finally been allowed onto the disaster site, have their work cut out for them. Companies have been working tirelessly to lift fishing boats and luxury yachts to safety, according to the report. Airbags have been used to gently lift the hulls off the ground while crane operators lift them into their harnesses. The vessels are then placed onto awaiting tractor trailers where they are taken to any available dock space.

However, some boats were so damaged that crews trucked them into yards and laid them on their sides so owners could identify them and make insurance claims. They were the lucky ones — an estimated 25 percent of the boats simply sank, giving owners no opportunity for a last look. At the Galveston Yacht Club, hundreds of boats burned in a fire that raged during Ike’s landfall, and many of the docked sailboats were dragged away with the wind.

“It looks like an atom bomb was dropped on this place,” says James Foley in the article, who works at the club.

State authorities say they have a matter of days to get the wreckage cleaned up before the rest is demolished, according to the report.

— Elizabeth Ellis