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Seabotix Rugged, Capable, Compact ROV's.

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Videoray - News - June 8, 2005

Drowning Victim Recovered by St. Louis County, MN, Sheriff's Office Rescue Squad

Location and Recovery was Rapid and Safe Using Newly Acquired Technology

Price County, Wisconsin- The body of Andrew Lovell was recovered on Saturday, May 28th, with the assistance of cutting edge underwater technology. The 30 year old Wisconsin resident had been fishing in Butternut Lake on May 23rd when his unoccupied fishing boat was spotted by his fiancé during the evening hours.

Several agencies responded and were faced with searching an area several acres in size. Divers made 30 separate dives but the large search area and poor visibility made this work difficult. The Price County Sheriff's Office contacted the St. Louis County Sheriff's Office in Duluth, Minnesota for assistance.

"We had recently received a new side scan sonar and were planning on utilizing it with our drowning recoveries", said Dave Phillips, St. Louis County Undersheriff. "We have had success with body recovery and scene investigation with our VideoRay Remotely Operated Vehicle, and were looking to integrate side-scan sonar into our operations." The City of Duluth, Minnesota, had recently assisted the St. Louis County Rescue Squad in obtaining the Side Scan Sonar by utilizing funds from a Homeland Security grant.

VideoRay ROV
The underwater tools used in the Butternut Lake drowning recovery: Marine Sonic Technology Centurion Side Scan Sonar System (left) and VideoRay Pro III ROV (right).

Members of the St. Louis County Sheriff's Volunteer Rescue Squad and Sheriff's office staff worked with the Price County Sheriff's Office, Butternut Fire Department and Dive Team in the recovery effort. One boat was set up with the Marine Sonic Technology, Ltd. ( ) side scan sonar, while another boat was equipped with the VideoRay, LLC ( ) Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV); a small 8 pound underwater robot equipped with a scanning sonar and video capability. The two boats worked together in the recovery effort: First, the side scan sonar was deployed and operators identified suspicious "hits" on the bottom and relayed this information to the squad members on the ROV boat.

One image collected by the Sea Scan PC with a 900kHz tow-fish left little doubt that the victim had been located. The VideoRay ROV confirmed this, provided video forensic evidence, and led divers to the victim so they could recover Mr. Lovell. After 4 ½ hours, the body of Andrew Lovell was located.

"We were glad to have helped on this operation. This was an agonizing, difficult time for the family and emergency responders", Phillips stated. Numerous agencies had participated in the efforts over the past week including the Price County Sheriff, Ashland County Sheriff, Butternut Fire and Rescue, Butternut Dive Team, Park Falls Fire and Police.

For more information, contact: Dave Phillips, Undersheriff, St. Louis County Sheriff's Office, Duluth, MN, Phone: 218.726.2339, e-mail:

Chris Gibson, VideoRay LLC, Director, Marketing, Phone: 610.458.3000


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