DAVIDSON COUNTY, N.C. (WGHP) — A new piece of technology will aid the Davidson County Rescue Squad with search and recovery missions on the water.
“As far as I’m concerned, the quicker we’re able to find someone’s loved one, the better,” Assistant Chief Eric Morrow said on Thursday. “This can be used on any body of water, anywhere I can launch this boat.”
The Garmin Panoptix Livescope provides an underwater view using sonar technology.
“It’s kind of almost like in the medical field using X-rays,” Morrow explained.
Using a pole that drags alongside the boat, a small screen shows a reading of the water temperature, depth, and what’s below the surface. Readings can reach up to 400 feet from the boat, showing anything from schools of fish to a pickup truck submerged in Potts Creek.
“People bring in cars down here, stealing cars, and put them off that ramp all the time,” Morrow said.
Previously, the squad relied on a fish finder to search. Morrow said the new device allows more functions when a discovery is made.
“We’ll mark it, that’ll tell us how deep it is, we’ll mark it and send a diver down and try to locate it,” he said.
A retired wildlife officer used the same technology to find 64-year-old William Head’s vehicle after a train knocked it into the water in January.
“He’s got the exact same system I have on here right now, he was able to come out with the Panopticx sonar and was able to come out here and find the vehicle in about 10 minutes,” Morrow said.
The device cost the squad about $5,500 and was funded by community donations.
“Worth every penny if we’re able to go out and find something, quickly and rapidly,” Morrow said.
The Davidson County Rescue Squad is holding an open house on June 4 at their headquarters on 9th Avenue.
The livescope will be on display.