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Abandoned car pulled from underground New Orleans canal likely had been there for years

The spectacle played out Thursday morning through mid afternoon as crews worked to pull out the Mazda 626 from the underground canal.

NEW ORLEANS — The fairly laborious and protracted attempt to pull an abandoned car from an underground drainage canal in New Orleans captivated a lot of attention in the city Thursday.

The damaged and decomposed Mazda 626 came out about five-and-a-half hours after work began and after a couple of axles broke in the attempt. Officials said the car had a 2007 registration. 

A Sewerage and Water Board report that the Lafitte canal had an abandoned car among mounds of debris found by an amphibious vehicle brought out a lot of social media barbs and memes Wednesday.

The S&WB announced the finding and released a photo of the debris in a report on the July 10 flooding.

Ghassan Korban, the executive director of the Sewerage and Water Board said the operation Thursday likely cost between $10,000 and $12,000. The cost of the amphibious vehicle project that discovered the mess was approximately $100,000.

Korban said that the car pulled out Thursday had likely been there for more than a dozen years. And, he said that removing the rest of the debris would likely take another few days.

"We're not surprised we found some impediments, but we are a little surprised by the magnitude and degree of some of what we've found," Korban said. "We think there may be parts of other cars down there."

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RELATED: Car, other debris found in underground canal that overtopped in July 10 flood

Thursday's operation included several S&WB employees and vehicles along with heavy equipment. The operation was staged above and below ground in the balmy New Orleans temperatures and required several support measures. 

The Times Picayune / New Orleans Advocate reported that fresh air was being pumped underground to provide relief to the workers.