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When it rains it pours

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by Gary D., Aug 31, 2011.

  1. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
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    Aug 30 at 2041 the pagers go off. Much better now than a year ago because now our private and work cell phones go off as well sounding like a third grade rock band.

    We have another reported intoxicated male exiting a boat somewhere in the center section of the lake not being able to pass SEAL training or be able to walk on water. After searching the surface for a few hours we are getting the SONAR ready to go for a bottom search. This area is also the deepest average section of the lake.

    Everyone here should know what the last phrase of males is. “Watch This”!

    Lets hope and pray that this guy shows up somewhere passed out or shacked up.

    http://www.cdapress.com/news/local_news/article_035e46f3-6bc2-5802-9008-de8a05008d9a.html
     
  2. Surface Interval

    Surface Interval Dive Equipment Manufacturer

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  3. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    I think our missing one is 24.

    What do you do when you drink a lot? I mean a lot! Now if it's beer mixed in what do you really do a lot of? And how do we find most males who fall off boats?

    We start Side Scanning tomorrow AM and think we have the search area down to about a square mile.
     
    Last edited: Aug 31, 2011
  4. Surface Interval

    Surface Interval Dive Equipment Manufacturer

    499
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    So you think he either A: Did something stupid or B: fell in while vomiting over the side? Is that what you're asking?

    I hope that you are able to find him for the comfort of his family and friends. Your job is not an easy one.
     
  5. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
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    Last edited: Sep 1, 2011
  6. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Here’s some of the chain of events that went on.

    Non-swimmer victim goes to the stern of a pontoon boat to add liquid to the lake. He falls in and the only other occupant and driver on the boat went in after him. The two get together and driver can’t hold on and lets go returning to the boat about 40’ away. He grabs his cell phone and calls 911.

    We arrive and mark positions, do a surface search and secure to put a plan together.

    The phone company gave us the GPS location which was 3.7 miles from the tower. The 911 GPS put it just a few hundred feet away from the phone company so that’s area where we concentrated our efforts.

    0600 the Sonar Team meets at marine where we put the plan together. Around 0700 we go to the boat and start powering up the newly repaired sonar computer, all the other electronics, the hydraulic pump, generator and twin 350’s. On board we have a one on the sonar unit, one on the GPS, one relief and me driving.

    We motor out to the search area and the weather was almost perfect. There was just a few inches of chop and a light breeze out of the Southeast when we send the Fish down and get the equipment tuned.

    About 1 hour and 20 minutes we get an image that may or not be our victim so we make another pass and it was a textbook image. He’s on his back, as usual, with about a 12” straight thing sticking up around his waist area. Due to the media being close we just kept getting more images until they left a couple of hours later. Then we started getting the target buoys into position and the final set was 8’ from the victim which was close enough for us.

    As 4 diver came out to us on two boats we got onto another boat and returned to our vehicles for our gear. We then returned to the scene and prepped for the dive.

    I’m going down to the victim with one of our senior divers and I’m carrying a 200’ rope just in case. Two other senior divers were going to 50’ for the victim hand off incase we needed to spend a bit more time. Two other newer very capable divers are topside stand-bys.

    So they move us into position and over we go. Good vis until around 90’ where it started to darken up a bit. At around 110 I hit the light. At 130 I’m on the target crates with about 10’ of vis and I see our victims white legs. I jet over grab his wrist and start up. So far we are under two minutes into the dive. My #2 grabs his other arm as we head up. At around 40’ we met up with the hand off team. There we took my line and got it around our victim. We then bagged him, placed him on a backboard and got him into the boat. We did well, a 7 minute TDT to 130’ and not a single computer beep on the way up.

    After fueling the boats we got our gear back into our rigs and went back to marine for debriefing. Our LT said he was expecting two divers to hit the surface but his heart rate increased when he saw 4 divers surface in less than half the planned time and he knew something went wrong until he saw the victim.

    It went well from start to finish it wasn’t problem free but we overcame every one. At least he’s home with family.

    Now for those with inquiring (dirty) minds. That foot long goodie in the area of his waist we saw on the sonar was his undone belt.
     
    Last edited: Sep 3, 2011
    Cave Diver likes this.
  7. pantheraba

    pantheraba Solo Diver

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    Thanks, Gary, for the dive report. The sequence of how you narrowed down the search area and planned the recovery is very instructional and useful.
     
  8. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    One thing I forgot to mention was that we were roughly 500' off the cell tower and 911 GPS locations. Whtiout those narrowing down the search area we would have had no idea where to start. The original verbal location report from the driver was that he was roughly 7 miles north of where he was. You gotta just love drunks.
     
  9. pantheraba

    pantheraba Solo Diver

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    Thanks...that process of narrowing down your search area is very instructive for me. I am passing along this info to our team leader.
     
  10. pantheraba

    pantheraba Solo Diver

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    Another question...you said you grabbed the victim and took him up as soon as you got to him.

    What about the theme "every scene is a crime until proven otherwise"?

    Maybe the driver/friend really hit him with a hammer and dropped him off the boat. I realize you were at 130 feet and I find it remarkable that you located the victim at all. Still, how did you decide this was a "scoop and go" scene and not a "let's study the area some before we recover the victim"? Was the extreme depth the deciding factor? Let the autopsy forensics do their thing?
     

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