Underwater camera used in recovery available whenever, wherever

Frank Gale fgale@thewesternstar.com
Published on May 23, 2014
Craig Harnum of the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre in Stephenville displays the MARSARS underwater camera unit used in the recovery effort of a teenage boy Wednesday night.

Star photo by Frank Gale

Craig Harnum hopes that the speedy recovery of the body of a Stephenville Crossing teenager from Barachois Pond on Wednesday night is some kind of a help for his family.

An underwater camera owned by the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre in Stephenville, of which Harnum is manager and program co-ordinator, was responsible for locating the teen just hours after his tragic drowning.

In his line of work, Harnum is aware of how stressful it is for family when someone is lost — whether it’s in the water or a wooded area — and the quicker the recovery, the quicker the family can have closure.

Harnum said while everyone wishes it could have been a live rescue effort, the training centre — operated by Marine Institute — was ready and willing to assist with their equipment in such a tragedy.

He said their underwater camera kit, which is valued at about $4,000, was only used in training before and this is the first time it was used in a recovery effort and performed well.  

This particular unit has only been on the market for one year and Harnum was told by a company representative that this is only the second recovery made in North America by one of the units.

Barry Nash, co-ordinator of the Barachois Search and Rescue, said his team had 12 members assisting in the search and he was pleased with the speedy recovery. He said with RCMP divers dispersed throughout the province, it usually takes a little while for them to get on the scene, so having this equipment available locally is a big help.

Nash said some of the search and rescue teams are investing in their own underwater cameras and he is pleased the local training centre has this high-end unit available for use. He said while using the camera, team members were impressed with the visibility and range provided, considering the search was carried out at night with no ambient light.

He said his team appreciates the Safety and Emergency Response Training Centre for their timely response and they would certainly have no problem working in partnership with them again in the future. In addition to personnel, the search and rescue team had a Zodiak and an air boat assisting in the recovery.

Harnum said the training centre would have the underwater camera made available “whenever and wherever” it is needed.