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Videoray - News - April 5, 2004

Exton, PA, April 5, 2004 -- VideoRay announced today that Buccaneer Ltd, of Aberdeen, located the body of a diver in Scotland using a VideoRay Pro III underwater robot equipped with sonar. Recovered April 2 by authorities, the body was confirmed by family to be that of 50-year-old Neil Robertson, who had been missing since March 13 during a 23-meter wreck dive on the SS Shuna in the Sound of Mull on the west coast of Scotland. After attempts by police divers were unsuccessful and called off due to weather conditions, Strathclyde Police Underwater Unit called in Buccaneer Ltd., a marine equipment sales, rental, and project services company in Aberdeen, Scotland.

“We put our equipment and expertise at police disposal,” says Hugh Mackay of Buccaneer, whose company sells VideoRays and provides field services for missions using VideoRays. The VideoRay Pro III ( is a tiny, video-equipped underwater robot that can travel up to depths of 300 meters. Using a VideoRay Pro III and two sonars from Tritech International (, Mackay’s team confirmed a visual of the diver on the seabed of the second search sector within 90 minutes.

According to Mackay, he relied on GPS man-over-board position of the last surface sighting of the diver and wind and current information provided by the Strathclyde Police Underwater Unit. The unit was confident that the limits of the search area could be defined within a 100-meter square beyond the stern of the wreck, which lies in 34 meters of water in a small bay on the North coast of the Sound. The M-O-B position was 30-40 meters astern of the wreck, and this was the first search sector Mackay’s team investigated. They then moved to a second search sector, 40 meters further astern and slightly inshore of the first.

According to Mackay, the relatively flat silty bottom features occasional rock outcrops and debris from the wreck. Tidal flow (0.5 knot) is low, water temperature is presently an average 8 degrees Celsius, and visibility varies from 2 to 5 meters dependent on the weather.

“With these conditions in mind, the search methodology was to employ a Tritech SuperSeaKing sonar system, mounted on our heavy-duty deployment tripod,” says Mackay. “We would then identify sonar targets within the search area that could then be investigated using our VideoRay Pro III, fitted with Seasprite sonar.” Mackay had just acquired the VideoRay Pro III at a trade show the previous week in London. It was intended that the VideoRay Pro III, a display model for the new product, would to be returned to the U.S. Instead, the VideoRay was proven in the field in days.

“The sonar was deployed and presented us with a very promising return, distinct from other targets in the sector,” says Mackay. “We launched the VideoRay and were able to confirm that we had found a diver on the seabed.” Mackay’s team had arrived on the scene aboard the dive charter boat Peregrine at 10am and confirmed the visual at 11:25 am. The VideoRay also confirmed for Police that the weight of the police marker buoy was within visual distance of the find.

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