Underwater Remotely Operated Vehicles

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New ROV for search and rescue helps police quickly locate body underwater

VideoRay, Inc. announced today that its swimming video camera helped locate the body of a security guard who was washed to sea in Cape Town, South Africa in August. The guard drowned while trying to save a German visitor who had been knocked into the water by a large wave. The VideoRay located the body in just 40 minutes after seven divers attempted to find the body.

During the two weeks prior to the incident, the Cape and Cape Town had been lashed with heavy rain and gale force winds. The sea was extremely rough and unpredictable. A German visitor and his family were walking on the water break when a large wave knocked him off and into the sea. A security guard dove into the sea to rescue the man. Although he was able to get the man onto the rocks to safety, the guard was swept away from the rocks. The rough sea and pounding waves and wind forced the security guard below the surface.

Seven divers attempted to retrieve the body before it was located by VideoRay, operated by Graham Hoal. However, due to the waves and delay in the start of the search, the divers were unsure where the search should begin. The Water Wing of the police agreed to let Hoal of Cape Town use the VideoRay as long as it did not affect police efforts. The VideoRay was submerged, and about 40 minute later, the image of guard’s body was seen on the surface monitor of the VideoRay system. The divers followed VideoRay’s tether to the location of the body. Closure for the family and port authorities was achieved just one day after the terrible incident.

“ The lives of two people were lost, and that is a tragedy,” said Hoal. “However, the VideoRay was able to help the police find the body without risking the life of divers. That is a breakthrough for search and rescue missions.” Hoal is the president of PentaTech cc. of Cape Town, South Africa, a distributor of the VideoRay swimming video camera in Southern Africa. Hoal heard about the incident while driving and raced to the scene to assist.

Costing a fraction of the price of other ROVs for commercial and search and rescue missions, VideoRay gets into tight spots that divers have difficulty reaching and stays under water for hours. VideoRay can be operated and transported with ease by a single person. Weighing just eight pounds/four kg, the VideoRay sub can be launched from boat or dock.