On his Memorial Day fishing trip to Cheney Reservoir in south-central Kansas, crappie angler John Mounce discovered an unusual deep structure near the lake dam. He spotted it with sonar, then decided to get a better underwater view of it with his sophisticated Garmin LiveScope sonar unit.
“As soon as I put my LiveScope on it, I knew immediately it was a vehicle,” Mounce told Wichita’s TV-4. “I saw the tires and the fender wheels really clear.”
Mounce was fishing just off the 9,500-acre Cheney Reservoir dam in 16 feet of water when he discovered the vehicle. His LiveScope showed a few crappie holding near the sunken vehicle’s hood. Naturally, Mounce caught the crappies first. Then he loaded his boat and called the local Sedgwick County Sheriff’s Office and reported the vehicle he had discovered.
Law enforcement met Mounce at his home and examined the LiveScope images he had saved.
“They came and looked at some pictures and they knew immediately” it was a sunken vehicle, Mounce said. He gave authorities the GPS coordinates, so they could return to the exact location and begin hauling it out of Cheney Reservoir. The Sedgwick County Fire Department couldn’t find the vehicle due to low water visibility, however, so they contacted Mounce and asked him to return to the lake to help.
By the time Mounce reached the lake, divers had located the vehicle. But he launched his boat anyway and monitored its recovery with his LiveScope.
“It was pretty cool. On my LiveScope I got to watch them hook the chain up to the Jeep.”
A video recorded by Mounce shows the 1980s-era Jeep being hauled up the lake’s sloping dam wall by a heavy-duty tow truck and winch. The Jeep is in poor condition, though still intact. Law enforcement officials haven’t disclosed if they’ve discovered who owned the vehicle or how it got to the bottom of Cheney Reservoir. Still, Mounce was pleased he could assist in the vehicle’s recovery, and wishes authorities had the same equipment.
“I’d like to see our Fire and Rescue have this kind of stuff,” Mounce said, referring to his LiveScope sonar. “Their stuff works, but it’s not going to give you the detail the newer stuff does.”