A family of four whose 90-ton boat has been stuck on a Playa Del Rey beach since late February is hoping to save the ship-turned-home before it’s completely destroyed.
The Mitchell family has spent the last two and a half months digging the boat out of the sand after an "anchor failed" and the "boat ran out of fuel in a storm" on February 27.
According to the LA County Sheriff’s Department, the Mitchell family has about 30 days to try and remove the boat before the county takes measures into its own hands. The county would have to chop the boat up to have it removed.
LA County Sheriff Sgt. Mike Carriles told NBC4 that the boat will be extremely expensive to move, but said that funding has been secured through an unused grant.
Boat owner Cosmo Mitchell is a 49-year-old who has been fighting congestive heart failure the last five years and has been left permanently disabled and on a fixed income, according to a donation site set up by him.
He and his wife are hopeful that they can dig the sand from inside the ship and get back to sea. They have lived on the boat with their two sons for the last three years, but since the shipwreck, have been living in an old RV that they’ve parked near the beach.
"I just feel like this is me, this is me out here laying on this beach, just splayed wide open so please don't kick me," Angelique Mitchell said.
Cosmo Mitchell said the boat, referred to as the "Angelique" on the donation site, "was our pension, our retirement, and our life savings all in one basket."
Some neighbors told NBC4 they felt bed and offered to help the family with food and a place to shower. Another neighbor appeared upset and told NBC4 that the couple illegally parks their RV and, according to him, are rude when told to park properly.
Since the time of the shipwreck, the boat has been visited by thousands of beachgoers snapping photos as well as looters who stripped the boat down to nothing.
"It’s the vandalism that hurts the most," boat owner Cosmo Mitchell said.
The thieves took televisions, electronics, a jet ski, tools, appliances and even two rusty shovels, according to Mitchell.
Though the boat has been stripped down, the family hopes it can be saved. According to the online donation site, Cosmo Mitchell believes that $5,000 in labor costs would be enough to save the boat and he is asking for donations of labor or “spare change” to help him hire workers.
"This was where we had like anniversaries, this is where we put up a Christmas tree and you know had Christmas mornings, so that's, that’s why I don't walk away," Angelique Mitchell said.
Those who would like to help the Mitchell family can visit their GiveForward page here.