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High-resolution survey sonar proves its worth in search and recovery operations

15 October, 2014

Recent deployment in the Peak District enabled the quick location of the body of a missing person who was believed drowned.

Yorkshire and the Humber Police areas, through their regional underwater search and marine unit, have been using the Tritech SeaKing Hammerhead system to locate missing persons.

The system was recently deployed at Snailsden Reservoir, in the peak district, South Yorkshire, where it enabled the team to quickly locate the body of a missing person who was believed drowned. Prior to deployment of the sonar, the area was mapped using Tritech’s StarFish 990F, a high-resolution side scan sonar system, to ensure the safety of divers entering the waterway; ultimately reducing the amount of time they had to be in the water, making the operation safer.

Yorkshire and the Humber Police’s marine unit already provide a vital service for the local area, where their operations can include meticulous missing people and crime searches. In addition, the team also visit schools to educate young children of the dangers of playing in open water.

Tritech’s SeaKing Hammerhead sonar provides 360 degree scans of the search area, a geo-referenced plotter display and a built in compass ensures accurate marking and mapping of the search area. The SeaKing Hammerhead can be operated in two frequencies; 675 kHz for large area survey, up to a radius of 100m and 935 kHz for high-definition target examination at up to 40m radius.

Sergeant Steve Birss, Yorkshire and the Humber Police marine unit, commented: “In our role we are required to locate missing persons quickly and safely, often in nil-visibility conditions the images provided by Tritech’s SeaKing Hammerhead and StarFish 990F were fantastic. The use of this equipment enables us to search larger areas in less time and then quickly guide the diver directly to the missing person. Using this equipment at Snailsden Reservoir reduced the search from weeks to hours, ultimately providing closure for the family concerned.

“In addition, Tritech’s generosity when we were engaged in very high profile searches in York, North Yorkshire proved invaluable. Prior to our purchase and without any questions, a SeaKing Hammerhead was provided for our use at short notice; a StarFish 990F was also brought to the scene by a member of the Tritech team who offered to operate the equipment on our behalf in adverse weather conditions for many hours. We were very impressed by this customer service at a time when the help was needed most.”

PC Mark Breeze and Sergeant Steve Birss of Yorkshire and the Humber Police marine unit showcasing Tritech’s SeaKing Hammerhead System:

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