Peruvian Search and Rescue Mission with the DTG2 ROV
Brendan Cook | June 27, 2018
From May 12th to 17th, Deep Trekker travelled to Peru for a week-long search and rescue mission of missing Canadian man. The DTG2 was used to support the search in various mountain lagoons.
Deep Trekker Searches Peruvian Lagoons for Missing Canadian BodyA young man from Montreal, Canada went missing in Peru in early September. Deep Trekker was contacted by Magnus International Search and Rescue to assist with the mission. The DTG2 remotely operated vehicle is often used in tandem with rescue divers and search and rescue teams, to help support with underwater surveillance and recovery.
Arrival in PeruDeep Trekker arrived in Peru to meet the Magnus International Search and Rescue team along with local Peruvian police and investigators. The team promptly loaded the DTG2 remotely operated vehicle (ROV) into the van and started our 8 hour drive to Huaraz where we would acclimatize to the 3000 meter altitude for the following three days. During the drive, we were brought up to speed on previous search and rescue missions, the team's findings and what we aspired to accomplish during our mission in Peru.
3 Days Later ...After three days walking the very hilly town of Huaraz, we headed on our way to meet with the Peruvian High Altitude Mountain Police. We then began our hike to the Santa Cruz trail, which cuts through the famously known Cordillera Blanca, the world's highest tropical mountain range. This later led us to the Punta Union Pass - the focused area for our search and rescue efforts.
We packed up our equipment on our backs and loaded the DTG2 ROV onto one of the nine donkeys that would accompany us on this expedition. We hiked for about six hours on our first day and arrived at Paria. One night to rest until we woke up to continue our mission to just below the area of Punta Union. This is where we set up base camp - at 4400 meters.
Day 1: Lagoon Search and RescueOn our first day, we cleared the lagoon beside camp with a quick search. The lagoon was about two feet deep and visible to the bottom. A basic visual inspection would clear the lagoon with confidence.
Day 2-4: Punta Union PassThe next morning, we headed towards the lagoon below the Punta Union pass. We soon realized the search with the DTG2 would take longer than expected due to the lake size and the amount of algae that had settled at the bottom. With guidance from the Magnus investigators, Deep Trekker swept multiple bodies of water in the area. The search here lasted nearly three days using the DTG2 and members of the search team out in kayaks. Unfortunately, we were unsuccessful in our findings.
The team decided to move onto other lagoons that had more visibility. We cleared two other lagoons in the same day due to their clarity, sand bottom and shallow depths. The DTG2 tackled the deeper areas and the kayaks helped to clear the shores. Nothing was found in either lake and we began to focus our efforts back near the first lagoon.
Although, we didn't find what we had hoped to find, the mission was still a success. We were able to confirm that the missing individual was not in 3 of the 4 searched lagoons, meaning search and rescue efforts could be focused elsewhere in the future. The DTG2 performed as expected, providing a very clear image of the bottom of the lagoons and capturing 4K video to be reviewed over and over again, in case anything had been missed.
Overall, the expedition was considered to be successful as we were able to set a more targeted approach for the next expedition, which is already in the planning stages, in hopes of finding the missing body.
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