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Robot spares Florida divers from chompy gator

Posted on 17.09.2009 - 14:00 EDT in GENERAL NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

Robot spares Florida divers from chompy gatorThe South Florida Water Management District has released video of a close encounter of a scaly kind. For the average person getting up close and personal with a ten foot alligator is probably a heart stopping experience.

But for Jim Caudill and the other divers with the South Florida Water Management District it's just another day on the job.

"On an average we see 8 to 10 foot gators, that's what we see," Caudill tells CBS station WFOR-TV in Miami.

At least once a week, Caudill and the other divers are faced with the difficult task of diving into murky canals with extremely low visibility, in order to check on manatee sensors set up in the bottom of flood control structures across South Florida.

Before the divers go into the water, a robotic camera goes in first to make sure there are no large reptiles lurking in the area and it is clear for them to do their job. But recently, one of those remote-operated vehicles (ROV) submersible video cameras had a close encounter with a gator and the inside of its mouth.

It's a danger that District divers face every day if proper safety measures aren't taken.

"It is very, very scary, the scariest part of this job," explained Caudill.

The manatee sensors main function is to prevent flood gates from closing on manatees. These sensors are periodically replaced due to age or malfunctions.

It's a risky job that entails diving in unknown territories where you never know what you'll find or bump into.

© MMIX, CBS Broadcasting Inc.

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