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New technology allows search and rescue crews to continue working through the night

Local News

UTAH COUNTY (ABC4 News) – Search and rescue crews continued working throughout the night after two men went missing while fishing at Strawberry Reservoir Thursday.

But the ability to do so is all thanks to new equipment that allows them to see underwater, even after the sun goes down.

When it comes to search and rescue missions, it’s a race against the clock.

“The more time that goes by, the greater the risk that somebody might be injured or their condition might deteriorate to the point where it becomes a recovery rather than an operation,” said Sgt. Spencer Cannon with the Utah County Sheriff’s Office.

The race becomes a lot more difficult once night falls.

“It’s incredibly difficult. We used to have spotlights to help us see a little bit better,” he said.

Nearly a year ago, funding and donations allowed the Utah County Sheriff’s Office to purchase three new technological equipment for approximately $100,000:

  • Side-scan sonar generates an image between the bottom of the boat to the bottom of the water.
  • Forward-looking infrared radar tracks heat, highlighting anything with a warm temperature and best used at night and during the winter
  • Ground-surface radar allows crews to see across the surface of the water

“When you can take these newer tools and add it to the technology we were using before, it makes it a much more efficient search and very often, a much quicker search,” said Sgt. Cannon.

But not all search and rescues have a happy ending. When the mission becomes a recovery effort, crews said their new technology helps them bring closure to the family.

“The longer it goes on, the more anguish they experience waiting for their loved one to be found,” said Sgt. Cannon.

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