IRSC home to new dive rescue training site

Thursday, March 18, 2010

FT. PIERCE, FL -- Members of the St. Lucie County Sheriff's office dive team hit the water Thursday. They headed for an airplane submerged in the middle of a lake.

"You know when you go down you've got to orientate yourself to the darkness," said Deputy Rusty Wright.

They were taking part in the first dive scenario at the new Treasure Coast Public Safety Training Complex on the campus of Indian River State College.

"When we had sunk the fuselage into the lake, we had people calling in to 911 that there had been a plane crash," said Steve Huntsberger with IRSC.

The set up allows trainees to go right from the classroom into actual training scenarios, and allows area dive teams to practice their craft.

Lieutenant Doug Hardie said, "The more we can expose our dives to real life scenarios the better we can respond to a real life scenario."

After studying the blueprint of the Gulf Stream in the water, the first divers took the plunge.  Over a two-way communication system, the divers said they were looking for a way into the plane.  A short time later, they returned with their first objective, a victim.

A second dive team entered and emerged a few minutes later with the plane's black box recording device.

"Getting in to plane was hardest part, portholes were quite small... but we got in," said one diver. But he said the team found everything they were looking for and termed it a successful mission.

An alligator was found in the retention lake in the past so future dive teams might find other surprising challenges. 
Courtesy of - Jon Shainman