Fishing for cars: group pulls several vehicles out of Cumberland River

cars in cumberland.jpg
Posted at 9:31 PM, Jan 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-21 23:35:28-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — A spectacle has been taking place along some of middle Tennessee's lakes and rivers over the past two days: with a diver's assistance, a specialized crane has pulled car after car out of the mid-state waterways.

They pulled at least four cars out of one section of the Cumberland River near McGavock Pike on Thursday.

The scene has prompted onlookers to gather, as the group behind the effort live streams much of their work, which gets shared on social media.

The group behind all the commotion is Adventures with Purpose. They travel from state to state, with the environment in mind, cleaning up the nation's waterways by forming teams to pull a surprising number of cars that have sunk to the bottom of rivers and lakes.

The group says many stolen vehicles end up getting dumped in rivers, as well as vehicles whose owners are trying to get away with insurance fraud.

"To get these cars out of the river is a huge, huge improvement for the environment," said Doug Bishop, part of the group.

But their motivation isn't entirely focused on the environment. They also hope to provide closure to families with loved ones who have gone missing. They came to Tennessee to help search for Bill Simmons, a Donelson man missing since June.

While the group says they found no trace of Simmons on Thursday, they say they will return back to the same stretch of the Cumberland on Friday, where they say at least a dozen cars may have accumulated, sunk at the bottom of the river, according to their scuba divers.