VIDEO: 11 years on the bottom

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After spending 11 years 80 feet underwater, a replica of a classic 1934 Garwood Speedster that sank on North Carolina’s Lake Norman has been salvaged.

The boat was home-built using molds taken from an original Garwood, and aside from the fiberglass hull, she’s identical to the original, right down to the re-created chrome fittings.

A year after the $20,000 boat was finished, enthusiast Mark Weinberger took it to the 2003 Lake Norman antique boat show.

“It was the first time the boat had been on the lake — and the last,” he told the Davidson News. While racing another boat, Weinberger rounded an island off McCrary Creek and lost control.

His boat barrel-rolled and sank. Weinberger gave up on salvaging it and moved on to other projects.

Enter a retired Air Force colonel, who is a marine mechanic and a master scuba diver, and his buddy, who owns a boat repair shop. They spent six years pinpointing the location of the sunken boat and developing a plan to bring it to the surface.

Team leader Jeff Buckley dove down alone with two air bags and attached them to the bow and stern. He had to inflate the bags to full buoyancy to lift the boat free of the mud. Once it broke free, the boat surged upward. The inflatable bags splashed to the surface shortly before Buckley did, pumping his fist in victory.