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Conducting Search and Recovery Missions with Christian Aid Ministries

Riley Kooh   |   August 12, 2022

What is Search and Rescue?

Search and rescue (SAR) is an operation executed by specialized emergency services to locate and extract an individual believed to be in distress, or in imminent danger either in a remote or difficult to access area, such as mountains, desert or forest, lakes or at sea. Search and rescue differs from search and recovery in that search and rescue is only used when there is a chance to save a life. When it is concluded that the missing person may be past rescue, the mission enters recovery mode as risk to rescue personnel in an all out effort is no longer warranted.

Underwater search and recovery specifically is the process of locating and recovering victims or objects lost underwater by divers, remotely operated vehicles and/or electronic equipment on surface vessels.

Check out our in-depth article on Search and Rescue

Learn More

Christian Aid Ministries

Composed of highly trained and dedicated individuals, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue has been working since 2016 to reunite the missing with their loved ones.

Volunteering their time and expertise to assist local emergency services in finding the lost and missing, Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue is an impressive team of 30 SAR responders operating under the disaster response wing of Christian Aid Ministries.

On call 24/7/365, the team’s primary goal is to offer mutual aid to local and state agencies during SAR incidents by providing expertise, equipment and man-power when and where it is needed most.

SAR

The Use of ROVs for Search and Recovery

One of the many valuable tools employed by the Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue team is the REVOLUTION NAV from Deep Trekker.

“This tool enables us to quickly identify targets from our sonar footage. It can also be used for recovering drowning victims if divers are not available or conditions are not safe for diving,” explained the Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue team.

Sonar

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One of the main benefits of having an ROV on hand for SAR missions is imaging sonar. High frequency imaging sonars allow for rescue operatives to get clear visuals through turbid waters. Traditionally, search teams would identify anomalies using a side-scan tow or boat mounted sonar. Once identified, dive teams would be required to ‘bounce dive’ these waypoints to verify the anomalies. With imaging sonars, navigating these potentially zero-visibility environments is extremely simplified.

Recoveries

Using a grabber arm ROV attachment, victims can be retrieved with the vehicle without divers ever entering the water. In unsafe or frigid conditions, this can drastically shorten the recovery time, since no preparation is required; resulting in quicker and more dignified recoveries to provide closure for families.

Grabber

Waypoint Mapping

Ultra-short baseline acoustic positioning systems (USBL) and Doppler Velocity Logs (DVL) integrations with ROVs provide advanced GPS capabilities. These systems enable search teams to pilot the vehicle and mark coordinates of anomalies as an alternative to side-scan technologies. One of the benefits of this is the enhanced maneuverability to navigate through different SAR patterns.

The Deep Trekker Difference

Engineered with carbon fiber and stainless steel, the Deep Trekker REVOLUTION is more powerful than ever seen before - equipped with auto-stabilization, wireless connectivity, augmented recording capabilities and 4K Ultra HD video resolution.

Deep Trekker REVOLUTION is based on an automated station holding, allowing the camera, sonar and manipulator arm to rotate a full 260 degrees for advanced situational awareness and unmatched flexibility.

Taking a big step towards developing a hybrid autonomous vehicle, the REVOLUTION NAV is a semi-autonomous vehicle that allows users to see where they are, leave a trail to show where they have been and set points of interest to where they want to return to. Advanced stabilization features allow operators to station hold against currents, enable auto altitude and pilot their vehicle precisely through varying water conditions.

The REVOLUTION NAV’s capabilities are especially useful for applications in open, murky water or when there is significant current. The state-of-the-art features provide direct benefits for search and recovery missions requiring precise navigation, location tracking and reporting.

“The Deep Trekker ROV plays an invaluable role in our water search incidents. This remotely-operated underwater drone is equipped with sonar, high resolution and grabber arm,” the team shared.

We sincerely thank Christian Aid Ministries Search and Rescue for the amazing work they do. As always, the Deep Trekker team is available to answer any questions you may have about using submersible ROVs for search and recovery - reach out today!

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