NYS Police Dive Team conducts annual winter training
Any situation involving a water rescue can be dangerous, especially when you add ice, snow and freezing temperatures to the mix. As our Erin Moran reports, the New York State Police Dive Team makes sure they're always ready to respond to those kinds of emergencies.
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LAKE GEORGE, N.Y. -- The ice on Lake George was covered with members of the New York State Police Dive Team on Tuesday, as they trained for a number of different scenarios that could come up during the winter months.
“We get called out a lot in the wintertime for snowmobiles that go through the ice and maybe a drowning victim because of fisherman going through the ice. Especially in the spring when the ice starts breaking up, we have an increased number of people who fall through the it,” said Tom Barden, New York State Police Technical Sergeant and Division Diving Officer for the Dive Team.
The selection-process for the elite squad of divers is extensive. Barden said that last spring, the initial number who applied for the squad was 77. Of that number, 32 were accepted into the diving school, and from there only 19 graduated.
Barden said, “It's not made for everybody. We don't hold anything against anyone who doesn't make it, but it's just not for everybody.”
The divers were practicing surface ice skills on Tuesday, as well as diving underneath the ice using sonar equipment. The sonar technology not only allows those above the ice to monitor movement, but it also allows those above the ice to have communication with the divers under water.
The training is held annually and this year it was an eight-week session. Barden said it's important that the divers practice to keep their skills sharp. “It's important for the public that these guys are trained so that when the request goes out for these guys to respond that they're fully trained. It's important for them for the exact same reason so that they're ready to go when they're called on.”