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Stolen rig found submerged in Keystone lake in Armstrong County

| Tuesday, May 14, 2013, 11:45 p.m.
Divers attach lines to a stolen rig on Tuesday, May 14, 2013, that was found submerged in Keystone Lake in Armstrong County.

A stolen tractor-trailer was pulled Tuesday evening from the largest lake in Armstrong County.

The rig was submerged in about 15 feet of water in Keystone Lake, said John Poister, a spokesman for the Southwest Regional Office of the state Department of Environmental Protection.

A thin sheen, possibly from the diesel fuel tanks, spread around the wreckage in the waters off Route 210, Poister said. The lake is located in Plumcreek, about 55 miles northeast of Pittsburgh.

The truck was stolen sometime between 8:30 p.m. Monday and 6:30 a.m. Tuesday in Elderton, said Chris Hannah, whose husband and son own Keystone Country Concrete Foundations Inc., based in Brookville in Jefferson County.

She said the concrete company owns the rig.

“Somebody called state police at 1:30 in the morning and told them there were lights in the lake, but when they got there, the light was gone,” Hannah said.

The aluminum panels that the rig was hauling were recovered when the truck was pulled from the lake, Hannah said.

There was no immediate word on how the sheen is affecting aquatic life in the 5.5-mile, 850-acre lake, which contains wetlands and gets as deep as 90 feet in some areas, according to the Armstrong County Tourist Bureau website.

The lake, according to the tourist bureau, is used as a cooling water supply for Keystone Generating Station. The waters are open for public use, which is controlled by the Pennsylvania Fish & Boat Commission.

No swimming is allowed, but it is a popular fishing spot that is periodically stocked with smallmouth bass, walleye, musky, perch and trout, the tourist bureau states.

Eric Levis, a spokesman for the Fish & Boat Commission, said he was waiting to hear from officers about the situation at the lake.

Poister said DEP representatives will be at the lake on Wednesday.

Michael Hasch is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 412-320-7820 or mhasch@tribweb.com.

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