The coincidence was both sad and eerie. Glade Volunteer Fire Department first responders returned to the waters of Kinzua Reservoir, only a mile from where they had trained the previous weekend. Eighteen year old David Sarber had drowned just hours before in a tragic canoe accident. He was attempting to retrieve a canoe which had blown away from the shore.
The first step in retrieving this victim would be to use side scan sonar to determine possible locations, then deploy divers in the frigid water to check them out. Depending on the size of the search area and the number of targets, this process can take many hours or days, and is dangerous, tedious, and exhausting.
In this case, following procedures they had practiced the previous weekend, they found the victim within two hours, confirming the location and marking it with the camera. The diver spent only a few minutes in the water. He used the VideoRay's tether to find the exact location, and its lights for illumination of the retrieval process.
"I'm proud of the team, and we're happy that the equipment and procedures worked the way they are supposed to," said Terry Carlson, Glade VFD Fire Chief. "These kind of accidents are always tragic and heartbreaking, but at least we did what we could, and did it rapidly and safely."
Glade VFD is located in Warren County, Northwestern Pennsylvania. The camera was purchased through the Department of Homeland Security Region II Emergency Response Group. Glade VFD provides fire and rescue services to Glade Township and Water Rescue Services to all of Warren County with an all volunteer membership.