Lt. Bradley Morse, who was on scene and in charge of the search and recovery efforts, requested the Sonar/ROV team and Airboat Team to respond and assist with the search of the missing snowmobilers.The Sonar/ROV team was transported via airboat to the location in which the helmet of the missing snowmobiler off Long Island was located.The VideoRay Pro 4 was deployed in 7 degree F weather in the dark of night amongst the ice floes.The body of the snowmobiler was located within fifteen minutes.Pictures were taken for the medical examiner as the victim lay on the lake bottom, 21 feet below the surface.The victim was then recovered with the use of a large treble hook held in the manipulator of the ROV.The total search and recovery effort was completed in less than an hour.
The Sonar/ROV team then reassembled with the airboat team in the early morning to search for the second missing snowmobiler.Once again, the VideoRay Pro 4 was deployed from the airboat where the snowmobiler was last seen.Within twenty minutes, this snowmobiler was located and recovered from the lake floor at 73 feet.
There were many lessons learned over the cold and very tragic weekend.Most importantly, the teamwork amongst conservation officers, local fire departments, local police departments and marine patrol was instrumental in the successful search and recovery mission.The information sharing, witness interviews and the preservation of the PLS (place last seen) was key.
The VideoRay Pro 4 ROV earned its worthiness, keeping searchers out in the elements for a minimal amount of time and eliminating numerous dangerous deep ice dives. The reliability of the Pro-4 was proven as it worked through the cold ice water without issue, while providing clear pictures and video of the recovery.
The dedication and professionalism of the Sonar/ROV and Airboat teams also proved immeasurable.The repetitive training throughout 2016 was a key element, as the officers were confident in their equipment and knew exactly how to use it to its full potential. To complete two flawless missions, back to back, in darkness and cold, is evidence of the team’s success.
Thanks to VideoRay for their quality product, the Conservation Officers for their dedication and professionalism and the Command Staff for their support, the families of these tragedies will be forever grateful for the timely and respectful recovery of their loved ones.
PHOTO CREDIT:: CO Joseph Canfield – New Hampshire Fish & Game Department