Abandoned houseboat wrangled on the Mississippi

March 2009 News Nicole Muehlhausen

According to police, no one was inside a houseboat found submerged in the Mississippi River Monday morning.

Authorities were able to get a hold of the boat near the Highway 52 Bridge in St. Paul and tow it to safety.

However, the sight frightened several witnesses, who were unsure if anyone was inside the vessel.

"It's not very typical, but unfortunately it happens occasionally," said Lee Nelson, a tugboat driver who came to help pull the houseboat to shore.

"Now we're going to haul it to our impound lot and impound it as an abandoned piece of property," said Ramsey County Sheriff Sgt. Tony Waldo.

Police say they knew about this boat back in December?it was beached and tied up on Pike Island next to Fort Snelling surrounded in ice.

There was nothing they could do back then, but with the recent warm weather, the abandoned boat broke loose.

"We all spent the better part of two and a half to three to deal with what somebody left. They make it someone else problem and they did," said Nelson.

The Ramsey County Sheriff's Department said they will now track down the owner of the boat to hand them the $2,000 tow bill.

In fact, the owner of the submerged vehicle could face a civil penalty up to five times the cost of the removal since it boat was left in state waters, according to Minnesota law.

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