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You must be getting bored with these by now.

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search & Rescue' started by Gary D., May 14, 2006.

  1. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    It was early afternoon when I hear that obnoxious beeping from the little box on my left hip.

    I grab it and take a look and it is a low battery alarm. So I hang it back on my hip. Before I can let go of it the beeping starts again.

    It reads; “2335 ENROUTE TO A VEHICLE IN THE WATER AT HIGGINS PT 3:29PM”. As I’m thinking oh holy crapski it goes off again. “RESPOND TO HIGGINS PT VEH IN THE WATER UNK IF OCC GET FURTHER ON SCENE POSSIBLE RECOVERY 3:34PM”. I’m still wondering ***. It goes off again; “PER 2329 DIVE TEAM MEMBERS ENT REDUCE CODE CALL NANCY IN DISPATCH 4:01PM”.

    Now normally I would have been out the door and rolling by 3:30 or so but this time I’m going to be a bit slower responding.

    I’m in Harrison Idaho at the south end of the lake and the call is at the north end. The problem is my rig and bike trailer is 15.8 miles to the west so 15 of us have a long bike ride back to get loaded and leave.

    Everyone else takes off while I get on the phone and try to handle some of this from there. Not only do we have a 16-mile bike ride, but we are 61 miles from my patrol car and another 15 miles to the scene. I’m glad he was dead already.

    At 6:00 PM I’ve dropped off my riders and their bikes and get into my car. I make it to the freeway and have a tire going down. Forget changing it I’ll just put some air in and keep going. 4 air stops later I get on scene.

    My #2 and I didn’t dive but ran the operation from topside. We raised the Honda Accord, which was on it’s roof and occupied, with two 2000# lift bags. It was right next to the dock so when it hit the surface I was able to pull the vehicle in with very little effort until the front wheels hung up on the ramp.

    The tow truck pulled it up the ramp far enough so the two divers could stand up to extricate the occupant and get him bagged.

    He was mostly intact but in the water a long time. He had been missing for several months and we have searched that area twice. It’s a large very steep area and the vis has been rotten at best. It was even easy to miss when you knew it was there.

    My team-mates did a great job dealing with the raising of the vehicle and removing the partially decomposed body. It was tough but not that bad and the two that did the work never missed a lick.

    Once the divers were done the fireboat crew foamed them down and prior to leaving the scene we did a debriefing. Everyone seems to be doing well.

    At least this case will be closed shortly and the mystery is solved.

    I’ll post news articles later when they come out.

    This is our fifth recovery between Christmas Day and now.

    Here is the sat pic. of the area.

    Here is where I was when the call came out. Zoom out to see the whole area.

    And here is where our rigs were.

    Gary D.
  2. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter


    I take it the car went in sometime after late November, since we dive there right through the salmon spawn, and we would have noticed it.

    When did it go in?
  3. mrjimboalaska

    mrjimboalaska Contributor

    # of Dives: 500 - 999
    Location: Hawaii
  4. Rick Inman

    Rick Inman Advisor ScubaBoard Supporter

    Now you know that wasn't what he meant. And if you've read any of Gary's post, you'd really know how out of line your comment is. If I can fault Gary for anything (and I wouldn't presume to do so) it would be for caring too much.

    Re-read the full sentence:
    Obviously what he is saying is that he is glad no one's life is in play while is so far away, time wise. Again, demonstrating his compassion.

    I wish you had put a simile face after your comment so I could at least think you were joking, even though the comment would still be in bad taste.

    It's comments like yours that make it difficult for good public servants not to become cynical.

    Sorry, Gary... :(
  5. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    I'm sorry that I upset anyone with my comment but had it been a rescue and I had all that to go through to get to it I would have been real upset with myself. But then again we do need a life of our own once in a while.

    Thanks for the defense Rick.

    Rick, you know how fast it gets deep there. The car was right there next to the dock. I don’t have a clue as to how many divers went by it but that area gets dove a lot.

    I’m posting a pic of the SS boat with the ROV on the dock. Had we raised the car with the boat there, they would have hit each other.

    Even the guy that found it ran into it without seeing it.

    Here's the pic.

    Here is a paper article:

    Once again I'm very proud of my guys and how they handled the operation and themselves.

    Gary D.
  6. Greg D.

    Greg D. Solo Diver

    what still amazes me is that he still made it to the op and he was 90miles away and 15 of it was pedal powerd! Thats awesome not to mention really dedicated, we have a hard time getting anything but our "core" group to show up for anything, let alone leanving in the middle of a bike trip to come. I say Great job Gary! :D
  7. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    Cute Greg, you trying to butter me up so I’ll but dinner at the White House? :D

    My 11 year-old grandson ran right with the lead pack on the Bent I built him, when they headed for the rig. I didn’t catch they until the last mile and mine is a hotrod. That kid averaged just over 14mph for the 16 miles.

    I just looked at the SS image of the docks again and the car is not there. We have never noticed a dip in the bank when we dive there but there is a slight shadow that may have been hiding the vehicle. I'm checking to see if I can post the image.

    Gary D.
  8. Cacia

    Cacia Divemaster

    interesting. just curious, do you put mentholatum in your nose? I used to do that sometimes.

    ps: I would assume anybody sitting in a lawn chair underwater is always kidding....
  9. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    First off let me say that Side Scan Technology is a wonderful tool but it is not perfect. Will there ever be a perfect tool? Probably not but we can always hope.

    SS works by sending out sound waves which are in many ways like a beam of light. The beams hit an object and generate a shadow.

    The SS doesn’t like to work on steep irregular slopes but it will. It does its best work on nice flat bottoms so on the steep slope in this image it had its work cut out. But it will work in a very wide variety of conditions.

    In the image you can clearly see a depression near the docks, which you’re seeing from below. Depending on the depth and angle of that depression it may have hidden the car.


    Here are a couple of links to better explain how SS works. I'm not the best resource by far.

    Gary D.
  10. renpirate

    renpirate Instructor, Scuba

    # of Dives: 1,000 - 2,499
    Location: Santa Rosa, CA
    I actually appreciate the details on your calls. Gives me lots to think about.

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