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  • Sonar for recovery

    Anyone with success using sonar for recovery of drowned victims in large lakes? What worked and what didn't?

    Any suggestions?

  • #2
    We used a side band sonar last year to recover a body. The operators were not very familiar with reading the unit in the botom conditions we had so it did take some time. But after water rescue dogs marked the location it was more obvious on sonar.

    Train, train, train, use the unit as much as possible so guys know what they are looking at.

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    • #3
      Have a GOOD operator!

      I have used Side Scan SONAR for recovery work and it has worked extremely well. Understand that it is not magic and victims don't always appear on the SONAR screen with two legs, two arms, a torso and a head. More often than not, they initially appear as a "mass" that is different from other SONAR objects.

      It is very important to have a good operator who can interpret what they are seeing, and this takes YEARS of experience. There are a hand full of people in North America who can do this. Gene Ralston and Mark Atherton are two who come to mind immediately.

      There are many Side Scan SONAR units on the market right now. Some are exceptional units that are designed for deep water use and would be overkill in the lake you describe. Others such as the Marine Sonic and Simrad units are ideal and then there are other units are complete junk!

      I strongly recommend that teams consider hiring a professional operator before they purchase a unit and discover that they don't have operators who can interpret images. More time is wasted identifying "false" targets when poor operators are at the controls.

      If you need any assistance, please contact me through the International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists. My e-mail address is:
      brobinson @ iadrs . org (take out the spaces; preventing spam)

      Good luck!

      Blades Robinson, Executive Director
      International Association of Dive Rescue Specialists
      www.IADRS.org

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