Forensic dive team navigates challenges during plane search

HAMILTON COPUNTY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Divers say there have been challenges searching for the plane that crashed on Monday.

From dry suits to hard hats, this is some of the equipment the forensic dive team is using to help in the search of the plane in Lake Chickamauga.

They first have to locate what they are looking for before a diver goes into the water.

“We have a fairly large search area to cover, we are utilizing in the field right now a tow behind size scan SONAR. It basically shoots a sound image out reflects it back and interprets it as an image,” said John Scruggs, the training officer for the forensic dive team.

Once they decide to send a scuba diver down, they make sure they can communicate with them.

“The diver has calms where they can talk back and fourth and relay what is going on. And on either operation the diver is tethered. If we lose a diver in the current that we have, they would be extremely hard to find. This with the air delivery system automatically has a tether, but we use the rope bag for the scuba,” Scruggs said.

So far the search for the plane has not been easy. They’ve been able to send two divers down.

“The water conditions are not favorable to dive,” Scruggs said.

Currently viability is low, so it is hard for the divers to see what is in front of them.

“That is why we rely heavily on the imaging. It gives us a good idea of what is there, but we just have to go down sometime and what we do, what we call braille diving. We go down, we feel it and see what it is,” Scruggs said.

The forensic dive team will continue to use this technology to search for the plane, despite the condition of the water.

Crews have been able to find debris, but not the entire plane.

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