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Tsunami Damage: One Week Later

March 18, 2011

By Erin Maxson

CRESCENT CITY, Calif. — One week after a series of tsunami waves pummeled the coast, debris is being lifted from the harbor; boats are also rising from the sea floor. Crews in the Crescent City harbor are pushing debris in the water towards the excavator so it can pick it up, remove it from the marina and put it into a large dumpster.

Pile after pile…what used to be Crescent City’s harbor is cleared away. One week after 8 foot waves crashed into this harbor, the U.S. Coast Guard, California Fish and Game and the National Environmental Service were finally able to get to the heavy lifting. But the Coast Guard says they are right on schedule, because a lot of work comes before any debris can be removed.

“To start just pulling things out of the Harbor could cause more damage than what we are doing by cleaning it up. So, assessing it is the most important part and bringing in all this equipment, heavy operating equipment into the area,” stated U.S. Coast Guard PO3 Levi Read.

There are still delays. A boat, which lies at the bottom of the harbor, could have been raised that day, but the owner didn’t sign paperwork; though dive crews several feet below were able to move the ship with flotation devices, allowing them to reach other vessels.

Another challenge is the nearly constant rain and driving wind; anything over 25 knots would shut down this work. For the most part it hovered just at the brink, despite weather conditions there are several jobs going on simultaneously one of those is the crane, which is lifting large pieces of Styrofoam that’s been encased in concrete up and out of the harbor.