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ROV NEWS: SeaBotix recover body in 185ft of water

Posted on 15.02.2007 - 16:00 EST in ROV NEWS by Rons_ROV_Links

SeaBotix recover body in 185ft of waterOn Friday, Jan. 26, 2007, a friend and former co-worker with the Placer County Sheriff's Dept. called me to request assistance with a body recovery in Donner Lake, Truckee, CA. Both he and I served as members of the Placer County Sheriff Public Safety Dive Team for many years. According to reports, a man was ice skating on the frozen lake, struck his head during a fall, broke through the ice and drowned in approximately 185 FFW. This depth precluded safely using any local public safety diving resources. The request for assistance originated from Sgt. Tim Hargrove of the Truckee Police Dept, who has jurisdiction.

At this time, Advanced Marine Services is working on a pier rehabilitation construction project for the Angel Island-Tiburon Ferry. The owner, Maggie McDonogh, granted me permission to borrow their fiber optic SeaBotix LBV for the search and recovery. I traveled with the LBV to Truckee on Friday night. On Saturday morning, I arrived at the command center located at Donner Lake. I met with Sgt. Hargrove, who was the incident commander. I was told the only viable transportation, due to the ice, was aboard the Truckee Fire air boat.

Photo taken by Sgt. Hargrove.

I set up the LBV on the air boat and performed a systems test. I traveled with several support personnel about 200 yards offshore to the marker indicating the point last seen. Once the LBV was deployed in the water, I was able to follow the marker anchor line to the lake bottom at 187 FFW. The victim was located within minutes several feet from the marker anchor, lying supine with his arms up in a text book position. In spite of having no grabber or sonar configured on this LBV, we were able to attach a small frame with a haul line to the LBV. The frame and line, with a slip knot, was lowered over one of the victim's arms. The support personnel were able to constrict the knot on the arm and raise the victim to the surface. The total time to complete the recovery was 3-4 hours. The LBV performed flawlessly. The public safety agencies present on scene were very impressed by the capabilities of the small ROV. We were able to quickly provide closure to the victim's family.


John C. Shaw

Advanced Marine Services Corp.
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