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Another callout and a good one

Discussion in 'Public Safety Divers/Search and Rescue' started by Gary D., Aug 5, 2004.

  1. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Trivia question.

    Does everyone know where Fernan Lake is by now?

    Nasty accident with ???? missing people in a vehicle. We found the car but that's it for now. One person was seen swimming away from the vehicle out into the lake.

    So far we have 10 down hours from 5 of us.

    More later. Need to get back on shift.

    Gary D.
     
  2. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    I checked into service for the graveyard shift at 2130 hours and start for the office and briefing. It’s 8 miles away and normally a 10-15 minute trip. Briefing is at 2200 hours.

    So I’m cruising eastbound on the freeway and just ready to take the exit when the emergency call tone goes off on the radio. Dispatch says: “Unknown injury accident Fernan Lake Road ¼ mile past the village vehicle totally submerged at least one victim in the water. Witnesses on scene, 2145 hours”.

    I light up and respond. There is no doubt who will be first on scene as I’m only 3 miles out. I’m on scene at 2147 hours only half stripped down so I spend a couple of minutes getting out of my uniform and boots. At 2152 I’m ready to hit the water but can’t. I have to wait for fire to arrive and rig a ladder or ropes to get down the 20’ vertical bank to the water.

    The second diver is on scene at 2154hours and yells hit the water but I still can’t. During this time I interview the two witnesses that watched the vehicle go in and see one victim swim into the lake. Finally at 2158 hours fire gets me down and I’m wet by 2200 hours.

    The witnesses pointed to the location of the vehicle but I can’t find it. I surface and yell, “Where is it?” They point to the direction where I’m at. I look again and still can’t find it. There is no evidence at all on the road indicating a vehicle had gone in so we are relying on their statements.

    My teammate went about a hundred yards farther down the lake to start searching. After 30 flippin minutes we find it. Upside down, all windows blown out or open, a child seat in the back but nobody inside. The witnesses were off by one full corner.

    The poor firemen had a full-blown rope system set up and had to redo the entire system to get us up and down the bank at the right area.

    By 2215 we have 5 divers on scene. Three couldn’t respond as one is away at school, one is sick, and the other one has had tea meany martunies (we’re human).

    We remain on scene diving tight patterns, as vis is 1’ at the very best, for three hours prior to calling it. We will resume searching at 0630.

    We ran the plate and contacted the registered owner. She said that there was a fight and the male half had taken her car and was going to go get drunk. Well, we don’t know if he did or didn’t yet but one thing for sure, he was hauling butt and never hit the brakes or even attempted to make the corner.

    I’ll post more as it comes in later.

    You guys and gals on the slower teams want some action come on up and play. This isn’t even our busy time of the year for dives.

    This will give you an idea of how well we work with the fire departments.

    3 different departments showed up at the scene. One rigged ropes and took on the diver assist duties including having liquids; blanks, chairs and air hoses run to fill tanks. They can fill us right at the waters edge without taking our tanks off if we need to. That crew is assigned to assist us and nothing else. They apologized for not having the truck topped off so we only got 2800# fills.

    Another crew handles anything medical related. We had 5 divers and at least one victim. There were 6streatchers, backboards or gurneys ready to go and all lined up with O2 at each one. One ambulance, which comes out of the firehouses, was dedicated for the divers only. The other couple were to be used as needed.

    The third crew were gophers. One went with a marine Deputy in a boat to help crew and surface search. Two were assigned to keep hands on us going up and down the ladder. The rest were tending lines for the down divers.

    When we were securing we were all just BSing when I mentioned that some of the other teams around the country think we need a better working relationship with our fire departments. They just started cracking up and one of the Captains said: “How in the hell could anyone improve on this.” Like I have said in the past our relationship is great.

    Gary D.
     
  3. Kriterian

    Kriterian Solo Diver

    760
    0
    16
    Sounds like ya'll have a unique, and rare, coexistance with the other uniformed heroes.

    Thanks as usual for the reports. Have you ever considered writing a book, once you're retired I guess? Maybe if they invent some way for you to do it in your sleep, but you hardly seem to get any of that either. :eyebrow:
     
  4. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
  5. Boater Dan

    Boater Dan Barracuda

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Western PA
    320
    2
    0
    As always Gary, Good Luck and be careful! And, maybe someday I will take you up on coming up for a dive!

    Dan
     
  6. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0
    Well, it’s over.

    It took 5 divers last night and 8 today. We had a total of around 40 hours of down time searching an area of approx. one-acre. Depth was zero to 20 with vis. Ranging from 3’ to absolute zero. Zero was zero. It was so black that the glow from a UK800R could not be seen at all.

    We did a max line arc of 150’ with a 75’ overlap. Max run was 3’ at a time and each run was done 3 times by 3 different divers.

    Keep in mind he is a very poor swimmer and we had two good (?) witnesses that saw him go down.

    He was recovered today and is resting in a box as I type this. I want to see him but the brass has ordered me not to so I can’t. I wish every worm in the area would go directly to him and invade his body and just nibble nice and slow.

    Sound cruel? No where near as much as setting us up. He was in the vehicle when it crashed. He kicked out the windshield and did in fact exit. He didn’t swim good but our good witnesses failed to see him exit the water. The A-hole was found not far away in nice clean dry clothing. He knew exactly what was going on but hates cops and this was a payback.

    The box he is resting in is the Kootenai County Jail. He’s booked on a variety of charges. If he didn’t like cops before god help him now as he will be a target.

    Then to top things off our group of wanna-bees comes by and grabs the media. They proceed to tell the TV stations that we do not have a clue what to do and they were the only trained rescue team in the area. They also told one of the two team Sgt.’s that as soon as we left they would go and recover the body within half an hour. Why did PADI call that class Rescue?

    They came within one more request to leave the area from getting arrested for obstructing. When they did leave the media wanted to know who those idiots were.

    Oh well, It’s over and no injuries to anyone. We didn’t need the fire units today but a few of them showed up on their off duty time to assist us anyway. They did end up being a big help.

    Pooped and off the bed. 9 hours of OT diving after a 10-hour shift is almost too much for the old man.

    Gary D.
     
  7. Wijbrandus

    Wijbrandus Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Denver, CO
    966
    4
    18
    On one hand I'm glad it turned out ok.

    On the other hand, I wonder if there are ever times you wish the victim didn't make it out...

    You've got stronger guts than I'll ever have doing that job.
     
  8. Chuck Tribolet

    Chuck Tribolet Loggerhead Turtle Rest in Peace

    2,910
    109
    0
    1. Sounds like you have some savvy media people. I hope
    you thanked them.

    2. Did he stash the dry clothes? This was premeditated?
     
  9. NINman

    NINman Barracuda

    440
    0
    0
    Just letting you know that your posts are very interesting and I admire your service to the community. Glad this one turned out ok, I just hope the system puts a hurting to that a-hole.
     
  10. Gary D.

    Gary D. ScubaBoard Supporter ScubaBoard Supporter

    # of Dives: I'm a Fish!
    Location: Post Falls, Idaho
    4,367
    45
    0

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