Side Scan Sonar Search & Recovery

Bruce’s Legacy is a 501 (C)(3) volunteer organization providing emergency assistance, education, public safety awareness and search and recovery operations for drowned victims to provide resolution for families.

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Search & Recovery

Search & Recovery

Helping to provide resolution for families of tragic water incidents and drownings
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Public Safety Education

Public Safety Education

Provide assistance and support to law enforcement, fire departments and government agencies
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SCUBA for Disabled

SCUBA for Disabled

Scubility allows people with disabilities to experience weightlessness of being underwater
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Joshua Xiong Search

Joshua was reported missing by family Sunday Nov. 9th   after he failed to return home from fishing on the Mississippi River. Rescue crews soon found a life jacket and a fuel tank floating in gate 1 of the Dresback lock # 7. Later that day they found his boat a mile down river. I called Winona County Sheriff’s Dept. on Tue to offer our service. We went over on Wed and Thur and ran our Klein 3900 sonar and found one possible target. The Winona County Dive Team dove on the target to find a barrel and branches that gave us the image of interest. I spent Fri going over all our recorded data. Returned on Sat and spent the day on the river with no luck. The cold weather and snow has been a challenge. Trying to keep warm on the river and keep our equipment from freezing up has created new problems to work through.

We have recorded all our data and this gives up the ability to analyze all the tree and debre that lies on the bottom of the Mississippi River. We will continue to work this case. It is very apparent that Joshua is loved and missed by many with the support we are receiving while we are searching.

I would like to thank Scott Moldenhaure and Jason Waters for coming out to drive my pontoon in this weather. Also the Winona Highway Dept and Millis Transfer of BRF for allowing me to get the pontoon in a warm shop to dry out our equipment.

For news video – VolunteersJoshua Xiong

Hoping for a closure for Joshua’s family soon!

 

Roger Goodell – Found

October 27th

Roger Goodell Updateroger

On Saturday October 25th Roger Goodell’s body was recovered from the Mississippi River. Roger went missing two weeks prior while fishing with a friend. Their boat got pulled into the hydraulics of the river just below lock #9 in Lynxville WI. On Sunday evening Scott was contacted by Kay, a Face book friend about this accident and gave us a family contact number. I contacted them and they agreed to have us come down to run our Klein 3900 sonar system to locate their family member. We traveled 110 miles that Monday, Wednesday and Friday to aid in his recovery. As in every case we get involved with we met many good people and made more friends. This small community pulled together along with many nearby departments to search for Roger. During our three days of search we did a test which I believe proved to be very interesting. Two jugs tied on a line, one full to flow along the bottom and one empty and sealed to float. This was put where Roger fell out of the boat. This was an eye opener for that the jugs where pulled down and into the gates and got hung up. A second test was done but this time further away from the gates with the same results. I believed that this was very likely where Roger could be hung up as time went on and not located downstream. I made the suggestion that this area needs to be checked out. The lock folks made this happen which was not an easy task Friday the 24rd. I wish more people could see the forces that this river produces.

We were invited to stop by the Wooden Nickel on our way out of the area for supper on the owner. We got to know more about Roger during this visit and from our new friends on Face book. It is apparent that Roger was quite a character and loved by many in the area. As friends and relatives gathered on Saturday the 25th to celebrate his life, it was interesting that this is the day that he was found. They say he was not one to miss a good party! RIP Roger, you left good memories that many will cherish.

Roger Goodell Search Up-Date

Day one search for Roger 10/13/14

Scott and I traveled to Lynxville WI on the Mississippi River. We wet with The Crawford Sheriff’s Dept. and workers of Lock # 9. We viewed the location of where Roger fell from his boat. We began with running our sonar in this location with the help and cooperation of Lock # 9. Working downstream we spotted a target that I felt needed to be checked out first hand late in the afternoon. It started raining at noon this day and we where soaked and cold. We felt it worthwhile to stay at it to see what this object was in the rocks of the wing dam. Suiting up in scuba gear I found it to be  either on the move or the formation of the rocks fooled us.

Day two search for Roger 10/15/14

Traveled back to Lynxville and met up with Rogers brother in-law Len who agreed to help me out and drive the pontoon. Scott could not make this trip. About a dozen boats with many departments and local volunteers  organizing to do shore line search. I shared a method I had learned about on a search earlier this year to see what a body would do once on the bottom in the current. It consist of two jugs and a line attached to the jugs longer than the deepest depths you are dealing with. One jug is filled with water and the other is sealed up to hold air to float. I know that an average body only weights only 15-18 pounds under water. The idea is to see the path of something going along the bottom. The filled jug is then put into the water of the known location. You let the air filled one go so you can see the path of the one on the bottom. This is where we where all very surprised! The jug went down and very fast into the gate roller and got snagged up in that area. They closed the gate and we tried to pull it out put found it to be snagged up. We cut the line and tried this again with another jug but farther away from the gate. Once again it was immediately pulled with great force into the open gate. The Lock workers shut the gates down for us so we could run our pontoon and sonar safely in front of the gates to see if we could see anything. We were able to produce an amazing image of what is in front of the gate and out in front of the gate. There is nothing of interest in here now. There is an area between the roller and concrete that I cannot get an image of and I believe is possible for something to get snagged up in. That is where both jugs are!                                                                                                                                             We began to run sonar down stream to only find that the Mississippi River beat us once again. We hit a wing dam with the sonar and broke a $400. wing off. That ended our day a bit earlier than I had hoped.IMG_20141015_124753909 IMG_20141015_124841494 IMG_20141013_085749324 IMG_20141015_103012210 IMG_20141015_121046541

Recovery of John Spoor from Silver Lake

Kenosha County Silver Lake John Spoor

Authorities had been searching for 66 yr old John Spoor since he failed to return home from a fishing trip to the lake on Tuesday. After he did not return when he had said he would at 4 p.m. that day, he was reported missing and Village of Silver Lake police began to search for him.

We were asked to assist with our sonar on Silver Lake in Kenosha County so Keith made his way to help. With the help of some local fire fighters we were able to locate three possible targets. Kenosha County Dive Team was called in to check out the targets but ran into the late night. The next morning John was recovered.

The departments and personnel of Silver Lake Fire, Kenosha County, Bristol and Wilmot were fantastic to work with. Hopefully we won’t have to meet on these conditions again.

The search for Joe turns up car dumping ground in Mississippi River

While scanning the Mississippi River with sonar, looking for missing Minneapolis man Joe Zurnieden, we found 11 cars in a 7 mile stretch of the river. Within a 60 foot radius we located 6 cars; an apparent dumping ground.

This is what the 6 cars look like on our sonar imaging. 1 car is laying partially on top of another.Minneapolis Cars2 Keith, Dave and Jeremy loaded up dive gear with an attempt to identify the vehicles and see if any human remains were still inside or find clues as to why there was a cluster of cars in a small area. Looking at a google earth map of the area, one can see there is a parking lot directly above the long, steep embankment for people using the city trail system. This was the probable ‘launching’ area explaining a partial How the vehicles got there. As to Who or Whom and Why they are there remains to be unseen. Once we set anchor over top of the cars, the plan was for Keith to dive down into the darkness of the Mississippi waters to locate each car and describe as best he could what he was seeing. Using a full face mask with wireless communications to the surface, made the task so much more efficient and helped with safety. We were able to speak back and forth making notes on each car. Keith identified a red Firebird, white Chevy van among other details and license plate numbers. All details and license plate information has been turned over to the Hennepin County authorities.

Spartan helmet Hubcap Spartan Helmet Wheelcover

Keith & Dave

Keith & Dave

Dave holding us in Lock #1

Dave holding us in Lock #1

Lock #1 & Spillway

Lock #1 & Spillway

Video and article from Beth McDonough & Channel 5 News

Looking for Joe Zurnieden

JoeZurniedenMissing

 

Today Keith and Scott are on the Mississippi River once again. Joe Zurnieden has been missing since July 1st. His wife Katy is understandably looking for some answers for herself and her children. We are hoping to help by using the side scan sonar in finding Joe. The river is very tricky with wing dams and locks and varying depths but with persistance and a bit of luck the aim is to find Joe.

 

Article by Anne Jungen: Diver Keith Cormican creates legacy for lost brother

Below is very well written article by Anne Jungen about Keith. The full link with images is here: http://lacrossetribune.com/news/local/diver-keith-cormican-creates-legacy-for-lost-brother/article_1a276770-fefb-513d-bdca-7a70ed6570ec.html

Keith Cormican Bruce's Legacy

BLACK RIVER FALLS — Keith Cormican and his older brother saw the need for a dive rescue team in Jackson County. For years, the brothers worked side by side using their own scuba gear to find drowning victims.

The tide turned on a summer day in 1995 when Bruce Cormican, a Black River Falls firefighter, died trying to recover a victim from a Jackson County creek.

Driven by his brother’s drowning, his younger brother now volunteers his time helping public safety workers bring drowning victims home to their grieving families.

“I do this because I know the need is there,” Cormican said. “I feel the desire to help, and I feel I have the capabilities to do it.”

Cormican, 55, of Black River Falls, and Bruce earned their scuba diving certifications in 1990 to help find drowning victims. At the time, Jackson County was without a dive rescue team, and the only method to retrieve submerged bodies was to catch them on large hooks.

“That’s a poor way to recover a body,” Cormican said.

The brothers tried to convince Jackson County authorities to start a dive rescue team, but no agency wanted to accept the cost or liability, he said.

For five years, the brothers worked together to find victims. They recovered bodies in about half of the cases they worked.

On Aug. 19, 1995, a father canoeing Robinson Creek outside Black River Falls with his three daughters after heavy rains disappeared under the turbulent waters of a small waterfall.

“I never knew people actually canoed that creek until that day,” Cormican said.

Black River Falls firefighters couldn’t save him. They searched the surface and shoreline for days before three firefighters decided to enter the water and search for the victim to bring closure to his family.

In seconds, all three were pulled under the falls. One escaped, but the churning waters trapped Bruce and then-Assistant Chief Steve Schreiber. Neither was breathing when the water released them minutes later. Schreiber was revived with CPR, and a helicopter could only transport one of the firefighters.

“I kept saying, ‘Take Bruce,’” recalled Schreiber, now the department’s chief.

Bruce had no brain activity when he arrived at the hospital and died on Aug. 25. He was 40.

Expert diver

Cormican left the tree removal and landscaping business in the wake of his brother’s death, gaining the training needed to teach others how to scuba dive safely.

“I believe it was a lack of training that killed my brother,” he said.

The next year, Cormican helped create the Jackson County Dive Unit and serves as the director of the volunteer agency.

He trains public safety divers throughout the Midwest and said teaching and watching others enjoy the water is a passion. He opened a dive store, Wazee Sports Center, in Black River Falls about 18 years ago.

Cormican is an expert diver, certified to travel the deepest that’s safely allowed. In 2011, he dove 355 below the surface of Lake Michigan to explore the SS Carl D. Bradley, a 639-foot long ship that sank in 1958 during a storm.

It took seven minutes to reach the shipwreck, where Cormican spent 20 minutes exploring before the 2½-hour ascent to the surface.

“It looks like it sunk last year,” he said. “It’s amazing when you have been on a wreck that only a handful of people in the world have been on.”

Cormican has explored the waters of Mexico, Belize and Hawaii, coming face to face with sharks, but is most impressed by what is below the surface of the Great Lakes.

He has searched perfectly preserved sunken ships in Lake Huron, discovering dishes, furniture and skeletons at depths of 200 feet.

“The underwater world is truly amazing,” he said.

When business slows in the colder months, Cormican teaches public safety and recreational divers how to scuba dive under ice. He also plows snow.

“It’s not by choice, but I have to eat in the wintertime,” he said.

Bruce’s Legacy

Cormican, a father of four, in early 2013 founded Bruce’s Legacy, a volunteer, nonprofit organization named for his brother that aims to recover drowning victims to bring peace to their families.

He invested in a $45,000 sonar system, a torpedo-shaped piece of equipment towed by Cormican’s pontoon that swims underwater emitting sonar pulses. Computer software transforms the pulses into images of the water’s murky bottom.

From the boat, Cormican studies the pictures to try to identify bodies before divers make the recovery. The technology helps him cover vast areas quickly and reduces the risk posed to dive teams, he said.

“We find all kinds of things when looking for victims,” he said. “We find victims, a tremendous amount of boats and lots of garbage.”

The surface above a victim is marked with a floating cage before Cormican scans the area to pinpoint the location. He aims to get the cage exactly above the body so a diver can safely descend down a line to its location.

Cormican has assisted public safety agencies at no cost about 20 times in the past year, driving as far as 1,800 miles into Canada to try to find drowning victims. Most of the departments aren’t equipped with sonar technology, which found five people in those cases.

“We also do a lot of eliminating,” he said.

One of his latest searches was on July 11 in La Crosse, when 23-year-old Shalim Augustine went missing after docking with friends late July 8 behind Powerhouse Marine.

Cormican offered equipment and expertise not available in La Crosse, police Sgt. Randy Rank said. He began searching south of Clinton Street about 12:30 p.m., when authorities turned their focus to the water.

“The technology was impressive, and he was completely focused the whole time,” said Rank, who searched alongside Cormican.

Cormican found two submerged vehicles and helped authorities eliminate areas to search for Augustine, Rank said, before a boater found his body in the Black River just south of the Interstate 90 bridge early that evening.

“I thought, ‘How’d he get up there?’” Cormican said. “Sometimes there are no answers.”

Each search is complex, complicated by the terrain and submerged objects that can hide victims. But Cormican’s mission never changes: to find them and bring them home to their loved ones.

“Offering that closure is so important,” he said. “Families are desperate. You see their sorrow.”

Cormican through Bruce’s Legacy also works with those with disabilities for rehabilitation so they can experience movement offered by water, he said.

“Most of what I’ve done is with disabled veterans,” he said.

He continues to educate community members and children about water safety, and police and firefighters about rescuing and recovering drowning victims.

Schreiber, the Black River Falls fire chief who has known Cormican for decades, called him an asset to emergency service providers.

“Keith’s heart is in the right place,” he said

Iswim App provides help to prevent drownings

Drowning is the leading cause of accidental death of children under the age of 4. Now there’s an app for that…kind of. Definitely not a substitute for a human supervision but if it helps prevent a drowning accident, that is fantastic.

ISwimBands are wearable sensors that can be worn on the wrist by non-swimmers and as headbands for other children.
“You put a wearable sensor on your child and if your child remains under water too long the alert goes off on your smartphone, or if a non-swimmer enters the water an alert goes off on your smartphone.”
The band comes with a free companion app that will sound an alarm on your chosen device after being submerged for 20 seconds.
For the youngest children the band is worn on the wrist and goes off after just 3 seconds.
The devices range in price from $99 to $400, a small price to pay to prevent a child from drowning.

2 cars found in the Black River in LaCrosse

When we were on the Black River searching for Shalim Shahjehan Augustine, we found several other items of interest. It’s common for us to see items on the side scan sonar imaging that are interesting and clearly out of place with the bottom of the river or lake. The water is a dumping grounds for so many items that people decide to dispose of.

Scanning the river near a boat launch along the Clinton Street bridge we saw a large object. It was unclear exactly what the item was but it was obviously big; possibly a boat. It didn’t give an image a car typically will. As you can see from the photos the top of the vehicle has deteriorated. This is why the sonar image was a questionable.

Bruce’s Legacy located the objects and gave the location information to the LaCrosse Dive Unit. They wanted to do the recovery of the vehicles. We traveled to LaCrosse so we could see what we had found with the sonar.

We were told it was an old Chevy van last registered in 1981. Dated too far back for there to be an active record of the owner. It’s possible this is Scooby Doos’ Mystery Machine.

Click on the images for an expanded view

The second car we located was underneath an old paddle boat parked along the river bank at Copeland Park. It was upside down, laying on its roof with the front of the vehicle facing the shore line.

Pulling the second car out posed some challenges in part of a steep wall and shoreline with large boulders. We waited around for several hours while they attempted to pull the vehicle out of the water. Unfortunately so much time had passed while they struggled to extract the vehicle, we decided to leave as it was getting late into the evening. Hopefully we will have some photos of the second car to post and share.

Here is a link to video while there….http://www.news8000.com/news/van-car-found-at-bottom-of-river/27102452

 

Joe Zurnieden Missing

Katy Zurnieden understandably wants to find her missing husband Joe Zurnieden who has been missing since July 1st.

“I was talking to him. I was concerned that he didn’t have a lunch with him that day, so I said, ‘Let me know where you are and I’ll bring you lunch. Me and the girls will bring you lunch,’ and I didn’t hear from him again,” she recalled. “He goes for walks to clear his mind,” she said. “He would say that he didn’t want to do all of his work in his fan. He liked to find beautiful spots to just think.”

Zurnieden was last seen at his home at about 6 a.m. on July 1. The vehicle he was driving was located in the area of 26th Avenue and Marshall Street in northeast Minneapolis on July 3, and his wife says his sudden disappearance is very out of character for the father of two.

Keith and Scott with Bruce’s Legacy will be using the side scan sonar and rov today to search the Mississippi River near Minneapolis for Joe.

Joe Zurnieden Missing Bruce's Legacy