Tuesday night the team got a call from Chief Diver Rick Pullen with the Berkeley Township Underwater Search and Rescue asking for a little help on an evidence dive his team was asked to do. Since it was short notice and a week day I told him I could make it and would meet them at 0600 the next day.
We met at their building and loaded up Rick’s truck and headed to Tobyhanna State Park in northeastern Pennsylvania. It was some ride as it was at the peak of rush hour! But we made it and were met by members of the D.A. office, state park police, a local police officer and TV cameras and one more member of the Berkeley dive team.
After a briefing from a detective from the district attorney’s office the teams suited up and checked the water out. The visibility looked to be fairly clear so two divers set out to drift on the surface over the search area. Within minutes the first phone was found.
It’s not a just pick it up and bring it in. You mark the spot and take measurements from shore and then you take underwater videos and pictures and then you recover it in special evidence container. Going from the bottom to the diver to the detective on shore.
The next find was a battery cover from a cell phone right along the shore found by one of the team using a metal detector. Again measurements were taken and photos shot and then handed over to the detective on shore.
Now the search area was moved over to the area were one of the phones was thrown in a month and a half ago. The detective gave us a location and the team started searching. This water was a little deeper so two divers suited up with scuba gear and worked the area. As to not dirty up the visibility for each other the divers worked apart. One working each side of the area. Working from the deep water toward the shallows. This paid off 45 minutes later with another piece of a phone being found and recovered and a few minutes later the battery of the phone was also recovered.
At this time the team took a break, two hour out in 45 degree air with a pretty good breeze blowing and in 49 degree water it was needed. Even with dry suits on you do get cold and the hands are the first to go. Underwater searches are a very slow process so you don’t get to build up any heat.
After the break is was back in the water, two divers in gear and one with the metal detector working in the shallow areas and two along the shore line and shallows. But the last piece of phone was not to be found. With the light fading and the cold really setting in it was time to call it a day. The detective from the district attorney’s office was happy with what we recovered and thanked us for doing a great job.
Thank you to the Monroe County District Attorney's Office, Park Police and the local Police in having the faith is us to invite us to help out with this recovery.