RICHMOND -- A cleanup project at Point Molate Beach Park went awry Tuesday when a Bobcat-style utility vehicle hauling tires from the surf got stuck in the mud and then partially submerged when high tide rolled in.

"It got stuck, with the tires spinning in a soft spot, and then it was a race to get it out as the tide came in," said Ian Wren, a staff scientist for San Francisco Baykeeper, a nonprofit environmental group that was doing the cleanup.

Wren said a tow company rushed out and rescued the machine by linking it to a steel cable and pulling it out, but not before it was mired in a few feet of water.

"There were no fuel leaks, we couldn't see any sheen in the water," Wren said.

The Baykeeper workers have done several cleanups in the past year at the park, which was reopened this summer after being closed for a decade because of city budget cuts.

Wren said Baykeeper rented the machine, and he wasn't sure to what extent it was damaged or how much the nonprofit group may be charged.

Contact Robert Rogers at 510-262-2726. Follow him at Twitter.com/sfbaynewsrogers.



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