Large Area Search and Recovery Tactics
A glimpse into large area search and recovery tactics and how Remotely Operated Vehicles have aided in missions.
It may seem like an impossible task as you glare over a large body of water; knowing that someone has gone missing beneath the alluring surface and it is your mission to find them. Sadly, this scenario takes place often for search and recovery teams.
Before a successful recovery can be carried out, a long, time-consuming, and often frustrating search is conducted. Effective operations are dependent upon the combination of extensive training, capable equipment, and organized field planning.
Search and Rescue TeamsSearch and rescue (SAR) teams are made up of government branches such as local police, firefighters, military, and coast guards. Additionally, volunteers and other organized agencies, similar to the CASDDA Canadian Search and Disaster Dogs Assoc, work together to carry out these missions. To ensure that these groups are ready for the call, they are put through considerable training; preparing the individuals to respond quickly and efficiently, thereby giving them the ability to produce the best possible outcome.
Large Search Area TacticsIn the case of large lake area searches, the body of water would be divided into grids or search radiuses. Experienced divers would be assigned a 10 meter (approx 30 ft.) search radius. Once they complete their examination, they move forward 5 meters and conduct the same radial inspection.
Given that someone has already been lost under the water, these brave divers are often placed in unsafe environments. Prior to any person entering the water, safety considerations must be addressed to ensure no additional loss of life occurs during the search. On top of diving in unknown and dangerous waters, these divers have limited oxygen tanks and search times. Given these circumstances, often Remotely Operated Vehicles (ROVs) can be used prior to sending a diver or in tandem to monitor the safety of the diver.
A Chilling SearchThis was the case for Cold Water Divers, a Canadian company, based out of the province of British Columbia. Utilizing two Deep Trekker ROVs, the SAR team conducted a frigid search mission for a missing person in temperatures as low as -15 degrees Fahrenheit (-26 celsius). Over their seven-day mission, the team would drill a hole through twelve-inch thick ice and navigate the underwater drones within a specified search radius.
Deep Trekker was also a part of the search team that had the unsettling task of locating a missing five-year-old boy who fell into an icy river. The ROV was lowered into areas that were unreachable and were deemed unsafe for divers to enter.
“We’re trying to give a little bit of peace of mind to the family, searching in places where the divers can’t.” - Sam MacDonald, President, Deep TrekkerRead More: Robot resumes Nith River search for boy in New Hamburg