Model T found in Mississippi River muck in Winona; is anyone inside?

  • Article by: PAUL WALSH , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 25, 2013 - 8:01 PM

Investigators wonder how the car, which is at least 86 years old, sank in the Mississippi and whether there are human remains inside.

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The Model T, which must be at least 86 years old, was first detected on Oct. 9, when the county was getting a demonstration of a side scan sonar device.

Photo: Wazee Sports Center,

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A Model T Ford is sitting upside down in the Mississippi River near Winona, and authorities are trying to figure out how it got there.

At least half of the car is buried in the river’s sandy bottom about 20 feet below the surface and a short distance downstream from the Hwy. 43 bridge that connects Minnesota and Wisconsin, said Winona County Chief Deputy Ron Ganrude.

The car, which must be at least 86 years old, was first discovered on Oct. 9, during the demonstration of a sonar scanning device, Ganrude said.

Three weeks later, the device’s owner and members of the county dive team returned and recorded video images of the car sitting 150 to 200 feet offshore.

The passenger compartment is buried in the muck and debris, said Keith Cormican, of Black River Falls, Wis., who owns the torpedo-shaped scanner that is towed near the riverbed by a boat above.

Cormican, who with the others dove down to the vehicle, said he can’t say one way or another whether there’s anyone in the car.

“That part of vehicle is buried in the sand,” said Cormican, who owns Wazee Sports and is using the device in support of www.bruceslegacy.com to help families search for loved ones lost in bodies of water.

“I went down with a video camera and lights and took video of it,” he said. “The two wheels are on the passenger side, and the two wheels on the driver side are off.”

Ganrude said that since word first circulated of the car’s existence, “people have been calling [Sheriff Dave Brand] who remember things from long ago. He’s heard three of four different stories for why the car is there.”

Cormican said he’s not sure when the car will be pulled to dry land, saying, “That’s where the sheriff has to make the call.” The sheriff is away deer hunting this week.

Anyone with information about the vehicle is asked to call the sheriff’s office at 1-507-457-6368.

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