Search and Recovery

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The term search and recovery for drowned victims isn’t something often mentioned. Typically search and rescue is the prominent choice of words, which includes many specialty sub-fields, typically determined by the type of terrain the search is conducted over. These include mountain rescue; ground search and rescue, including the use of search and rescue dogs; urban search and rescue in cities; combat search and rescue on the battlefield and air-sea rescue over water.

Search and rescue can mean an outcome where victims are saved from further tragedy and death. Search and recovery can parallel this but often is used in the context of the victim having succumb to death and the body has yet to be located. No matter how much effort was given in the attempt to rescue, sometimes a recovery is the end result. We would much rather see victims live to tell the story themselves, unfortunately family members and loved ones too often are left with unanswered questions.

Bruce’s Legacy may not always answer all the questions left behind but we wish to resolve the most important issue of locating the body. Locating a drowned victim will not alleviate all the suffering but having a body to mourn is a critical step to move forward in the grieving process. This is extremely important in almost all cultures and religions globally.

Once the victim or target is located using the side scan sonar, we are able to geo reference the location and know the latitude and longitude. We then use GPS to drive over the referenced location and drop a marker. Our marker of choice has been an empty dog cage tied to a polypropylene rope and buoy. The metal, wire frame of the cage makes a great target to see in the side scan image.

Our objective is to get the cage as close as possible to the victim. Once we drop the cage, we scan the area again to see how close the cage is to our victim. If it’s not close enough; depending on water visibility and depth, between 10-15 feet, we will lift the cage, re-drop and re-scan until satisfied with the cage and victim distance. The goal is to get the cage close enough the diver simply descends down the line to the cage and is within short reach of the victim using a limited search pattern.

This page is still being updated and edited… 

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