Monday, May 03, 2010

Ring Recovery....

On Friday night, April 30, 2010, the Dive Team received an underwater Search and Recovery request from one of the town's Police Detectives. A couple, while working around their boat at Kingsbridge Marina, reported a missing purse. The woman had placed it on the cover of their dock box, but a wind blew the cover open, flinging the small purse into the water. Chief Nesley, Paul, and Dave went in at 10 pm to sweep under the dock to search for the purse. The divers had about 10 feet of visibility, but with the darkness and swiftly moving current, the object was not recovered.

We returned on Saturday morning with Chet, Dave, Milton, and Sue. This time, the boat owners met us at the dock and we were able to get a first-hand account of how, where, and when the item went missing. Most importantly, we learned that the tide was outgoing at the time of the loss (we had previously been told incoming), and that the brick-size purse had a ring of keys in it. This allowed us to better plan a search area, considering water movement, bottom composition, and how quickly the object should have sank.

Milton and Sue began their search by stringing a line between the dock (right under the boat) over to the railroad bridge to the east, with both ends anchored. They used this for visual reference to sweep back and forth, covering a large patch of real estate where the purse should have headed when it was lost. Meanwhile, Chet and Dave conducted an intensive search under the bridge itself; if the tide did bring the purse this far, the jumbled bottom structure and debris there would have likely snagged any rolling object.

After about a half hour of fruitless searching by both teams, Milton and Sue changed course to recheck around the dock and to the west. Lucky for Sue, she had trouble clearing one of her ears! Normally, that's not a lucky event, but her delayed descent dropped her down separated from Milton. While she was getting her bearings to decide whether to pursue her partner or sweep under an adjacent dock on her own, SHE LANDED ON THE PURSE.

All four divers regrouped and headed back to the truck, appearing to call it quits. The couple saw us ungearing and wanted to know how things went. Chief Nesley had some Good News and some Bad News for them. He gave them the Bad News first: "From this dock to the OTHER side of the bridge, it's not there." Then the Good News: "It was right over there, ten feet away from your boat." Roseann was ecstatic, so much so that she didn't think twice about giving bear hugs to four soaking wet divers. Her purse was soaked, but it had been zippered shut, so nothing had been lost. Even the ChapStick survived!

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