Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad raising funds for sonar equipment

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MADISON, N.C. -- The Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad has a base at Belews Lake because the squad responds to at least one drowning call a year.

Chief Rusty Gray says searching the lake for a drowning victim can be difficult. Belews Lake straddles four counties. Plus divers have a tough time seeing in the murky lake water.

"Visibility is near nothing. You are basically in the dark," he said.

After spending 15 hour shifts on Belews Lake last April searching for two missing fishermen, Chief Gray wants this upcoming boating season to be different.

The Madison Rockingham Rescue Squad is using social media to raise money for a sonar device. The $40,000 piece of equipment could produce clear pictures of what is at the bottom of the lake. Chief Gray feels better pictures will help rescue groups find drowning victims sooner.

"One boat and one operator for the sonar. We are able to cover a lot more ground versus dragging a grid three to four feet at a time," he said.

During last April's search, teams used sonar equipment from eastern North Carolina and eastern Virginia. Chief Gray wants to bring sonar equipment to the Piedmont so local agencies can have easy access. $20,000 in grant funding is picking up half the cost of the sonar.

Madison-Rockingham Rescue Squad hopes the Indiegogo website will supply the other $20,000.