Digging Deeper: Area rescue crews dive deep under with intensive - WQOW TV: Eau Claire, WI NEWS18 News, Weather, and Sports

Digging Deeper: Area rescue crews dive deep under with intensive training and advanced technology


Western Wisconsin (WQOW) - Taking a dip in the water is a favorite summer activity for many, but as we know, water can turn dangerous in a hurry. That's why some area rescue crews are diving in with extra caution.

Area rescue crews said many times, divers are faced with poor water conditions that have low visibility and fast currents. In order to prepare for the conditions, David Whitehouse, with the Eau Claire Fire Department and founder of the Eau Claire Water Safety Task Force, said they train with multiple dive operations every year, while using sonar equipment to scan the waters for potential drowning victims. "Years ago, when we'd have a missing person and didn't have an exact location, the fire department and other departments would use drag hooks, and they would drag the bottom to try to locate the victim,” Whitehouse said. “With the advent of the side-scanning technology, we're able to identify the victim and go directly down, using that, rather than just randomly trying to cover an area. We can locate exactly where they were."

Keith Cormican, the founder of Bruce's Legacy, said divers are trained to be prepared for the worst while underwater. "Now all of a sudden you have zero visibility and bump into something,” Cormican said. “It's important as part of their training just to be able to expect that because they need to be able to keep their control underwater because they can't just step back and scream. You have to control yourself. Because, if you do decide to leave the bottom, and shoot to the surface, now you've just hurt yourself."

The Eau Claire Fire Department said there have been several incidents this year alone, including one drowning death earlier in 2016 on Dells Pond.

Join News 18 on Thursday at 10 p.m. for the full story about water rescues and diving deep under with emergency crews.

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