Homeland Security Grant provides underwater search, inspection, and recovery tools
The Norfolk Police Department Harbor Patrol recently completed training on over $100,000 of robotic equipment , and completed VideoRay Certified Pro 4 unit training at the harbor. The Harbor Patrol Unit partners with the United States Coast Guard to ensure the safe flow of waterborne critical assets transiting the Norfolk Harbor. Training of Harbor Patrol officers prepares members for natural disasters and terrorist acts. The recent VideoRay equipment will enhance the preparedness of these officers to handle port security. (link http://www.norfolk.gov/documentcenter/view/1003 )
This is the second VideoRay win at NPD – in 2003, the NPD purchased at VideoRay Pro 2 unit, which still functions. The latest equipment includes multi-beam imaging sonar from BlueView Technologies, Smart Tether from KCF, LYYN video clarification, and VIdeoRay's rotating manipulator, hull crawling, and radiation detection accessories. The five day training, completed in June 2016, included operations of all of the systems and accessory combinations, basic maintenance, and techniques for operating in very cloudy water with less than one foot of visibility.
Instructor Brett Kolb, with over 10 years of operational experience in all aspects of VideoRay operations, maintenance, and repair, was very impressed with the six member team from the Harbor Patrol Unit, commenting that they had clearly treated everyone with equal respect, and had gained the trust of everyone they worked with in Norfolk. They were also very familiar with different underwater handheld and sidescan sonar tools, and were impressed with the performance and integration of the VideoRay sonar, positioning, video, still photo, and manipulation functions.
Mälardalen Fire & Rescue Recovered Car and Drowning Victim First Reported Missing in 2012
A VideoRay Pro 4 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) training exercise proved to be even more productive than normal for the Mälardalen Fire & Rescue (Swedish: "Mälardalen Brand & Räddningsförbund") , when they discovered a sunken car last November. A Pro 4 ROV equipped with BlueView imaging sonar located the car laying on its roof at the bottom of Elbakajen Harbor in Västerås, Sweden during a training exercise led by BUVI Undervatteninspektion AB, VideoRay's Swedish representative. The VideoRay ROV was able to get close enough to the vehicle to read the registration number which was then cross-checked with the automobile registry to confirm that it was reported missing. The Fire & Rescue team then used the VideoRay ROV to guide divers down to the car, where they discovered the remains of the presumed driver, an elderly man who has been missing since 2012. After the police were notified, the Mälardalen Fire & Rescue team began salvage.
It remains unclear how long the car and victim had been underwater, and no names or identifying information has been released by local police.
Mälardalen is the first fire department in Sweden to use a VideoRay ROV for their search & rescue (SAR) operations. Because of poor visibility in the surrounding water, Lake Mälardalen, the Fire & Rescue team acquired their Pro 4 to assist with underwater SAR missions. They currently have two trained ROV pilots on every shift, but plan to complete training for all their staff by the end of summer 2016, according to head diver Bengt Jacobsen.
Click "Continue Reading" for images and news articles from the recovery in Västerås Harbor
Pro 4 ROV Will Serve the Entire State of Alaska
The Alaska State Police recently purchased a VideoRay Pro 4 Remotely Operated Vehicle System to assist with search & recovery (SAR) operations across the entire state of Alaska. The Pro 4 Plus BASE ROV system also included a Teledyne BlueView V-130 imaging sonar and rotating manipulator arm, two essential accessories for SAR missions, especially in challenging environments like Alaska.
The Alaska State Troopers decided to purchase the VideoRay Pro 4 ROV after the ROV's benefits were clearly demonstrated during an underwater drowning victim recovery near Bethel earlier this year. Immediately following the success of the Bethel recovery, the Kodiak Area Native Association began securing funds from government grants and voluntary donations to purchase a VideoRay ROV for the entire state.
"[The Pro 4] ROV allows us to put a piece of equipment under the water that gives us a sonar picture as well as a video picture to locate quickly and recover those victims a lot faster. [The ROV] can be utilized in summer and wintertime, under the ice or without ice, and in a lot of different currents," said Captain Andrew Merrill, an Alaska State Trooper with the Village Public Safety Officer Program.
Merrill anticipates that the Pro 4 ROV will be used statewide for a wide range of underwater applications, especially drowning victim searches and recoveries. "We realized that having [the Pro 4 ROV] here would allow us to find and recover search and rescue victims a lot faster and help bring closure to families who had lost a loved one."
As of November 2015, nine people have been trained and certified to operate the VideoRay Pro 4. According to Merrill, those individuals will be responsible for both operating the equipment and training additional state troopers on the ROV.
Click "Continue Reading" to see video of Captain Merrill discussing how they plan to use their new Pro 4 ROV.
Victim Pulled from 279 Ft of Water in Lake's Virgin Basin
Earth Resource Group (ERG) recently used a VideoRay Pro 4 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) during a drowning victim recovery in Lake Mead. The victim was pulled from the Virgin Basin on the second search day using a homemade snare assembly attached to the VideoRay ROV's manipulator arm.
The victim, James Schafer, was reported missing after his vessel was found unattended near Middle Point Island. The search team from ERG and the Lake Mead Interagency Communications Center was able to use a GPS unit onboard the boat to track its movements, which led them to the Virgin Basin.
ERG has used their VideoRay Pro 4 ROV and homemade snare assembly to recover multiple victims in the Nevada region, including one from 340 ft of water last August.
For more information on Earth Resource Group and their services, visit www.ergnevada.com
VideoRay extends our deepest sympathies to the family and friends of James Schafer.
Click Continue Reading for more news coverage and photos from the ERG recovery.
Body Recovered from 50 Feet of Water with ROV Borrowed from Burleigh County
A VideoRay Pro 4 Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV) recovered the body of Gabrielle Fisher from Pactola Reservoir in South Dakota on Monday. After a 4 hour search, the Pro 4 located her body in approximately 50 feet of water near the spot where Fisher was knocked into the water after a jet ski hit her boat on Friday night.
Search crews from the Pennington County Search & Rescue (SAR) team searched for her body all weekend using divers and side scan sonar. However, the divers had little to no visibility due to the amount of silt in the water, often having less than 3 feet of visibility. After two days of unsuccessful searching, Pennington County SAR called Burleigh County Sheriff's Department in North Dakota to borrow their VideoRay Pro 4. Once the ROV arrived, they were able to locate the body after shortly before search efforts were to be called off on Monday night.
"[The ROV] saved divers a lot time," said Brian Meiers from the Pennington County SAR team. The ROV recovered Fisher's body from a search area that had not been covered by the divers. Another member of the team was quoted as saying "we absolutely could not have found her body without the ROV."
The Pennington SAR team was familiar with VideoRay ROVs, thanks to a recent demo conducted by Tom Crossmon. Burleigh County sent their ROV and three members of their Dive Rescue and Recovery team to Rapid City to conduct the search.
Click Continue Reading for more news coverage and video from the Fisher rescue.
VideoRay extends our deepest sympathies to the family and loved ones of Gabrielle Fisher.