SANFORD, Fla. - Members of the Seminole County Sheriff's Office Underwater Search and Recovery team gave us a video of what it looks like when they dive underneath the surface of a Florida lake. It looks like they’re swimming in coffee.
"Most of the time when we get in the water, we can't see anything," says Deputy Brandon McDonnell, a member of the dive team.
They often use their hands to feel around for objects. Now, deputies have the DTG-3 Navigator, made by company DeepTrekker. It's a drone that uses video and sonar to search for things underwater and identify things for divers to recover. It also has attachments like a claw to grab onto things.
The divers use remote control for the unit. It has a video display to see what it’s looking at, and it also has a sonar display for another way to see objects.
"So it can look for objects and items that are short and long, close and far. It has about a 50-foot range and a 90-degree spread," McDonnell says.
They say they were using it over the weekend to search for a missing boater. What they also turned up were five guns. One of the guns they recovered was reported stolen from out of state.
"It's always surprising to find firearms," said McDonnell, "especially to get them off the streets and out of the water."
The navigator costs about $50,000, paid for with a government grant. They have had it for about five months now and say it's been a tremendous asset.
"We've only had it for a short period of time," said Lt. Paul Pratt, the SCSO Underwater Search & Recover Team Commander, "but it will be deployed for every do. Either before divers hit the water or while divers are in the water as well."
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