ROCKLAND (AP) – A dive team on Tuesday recovered a vehicle and the woman who was at the wheel when it plunged off a cliff and into an icy limestone quarry last week.

The family of 46-year-old Llynne Haskins hired a dive team to search the deep quarry after Maine State Police cited dangerous conditions in refusing to conduct a search of their own until warmer weather in the spring.

City officials at first wouldn’t allow any diver into the city-owned quarry, but relented this week in permitting family members to hire a diver at their cost.

With the air temperature at 12 degrees, a team headed by David Sinclair, who once headed the Maine State Police dive team and now owns a salvage and dive company, used a chain saw to cut through the ice. A diver then strapped an oxygen tank on his back to make the descent into the dark waters as Haskins’ family members watched from the ridge above.

“Right now, my only concern is to get her out and have some closure,” said Allen Haskins the victim’s brother.

The operation took nearly all day, but Haskins’ Chevy Blazer was pulled out of the quarry in the late afternoon.

Haskins’ vehicle went off the road into the quarry last Thursday morning as she was taking her sick cat to the veterinarian. Police said snowy weather, road conditions and speed probably contributed to the accident.

Stanley Dennison, one of Haskins’ sons, said the family has been devastated by the accident and frustrated by the initial refusal to let the family retrieve their mother.

“The most important thing today is to get my mother up so we can get on with the healing process,” Dennison said.

Rockland police impounded the vehicle after it was recovered, and plan to perform a forensic analysis to determine if there were any defects that may have contributed to the accident, said Rockland Police Chief Alfred Ockenfels.

Police are also looking into whether another vehicle was involved in the accident, although there is no evidence to support that theory, he said.

The family said that Tuesday’s dive operation cost about $10,000, but that many members of the community were contributing to help defray the costs.

A memorial service is planned for Saturday.



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