Tag Archives: recovery

Aquatic Dreams Diving in the News – WLWT Interview March 21, 2016

Officials: Currents still too strong to retrieve car that plunged from bridge

Divers say currents needs to be below 1.5 mph

CINCINNATI —For six days, a car been sitting at the bottom of the Ohio River. But the mission to recover the car that plunged from the Combs-Hehl Bridge is too dangerous to try, officials said.

On March 15, a car fell from the bridge and quickly became fully submerged. Campbell County police believe they know the identity of the driver.

Photos from the scene // Watch this story

Authorities said the vehicle had been located via sonar not far from the bridge, but no passengers had been found in the river.

Divers said the Ohio River is dark and dangerous.

John Hoh with Aquatic Dreams Diving has been a professional diver for years. He’s not with the Boone County Water Rescue Team, but he’s worked missions like one Boone County faces.

“Visibility in the river is pretty much zero,” Hoh said. “It’s less than what you can see your hand in front of your face. So when you’re down in that, you’re trying to do work and focused on the work you’re doing, not what’s coming downstream behind you.”

Hoh said that’s where the danger lies.

“If something comes down and hits you, it could definitely injure you. It could knock you unconscious or it could tangle you up in the lines people that people are holding onto to keep you safe.”

The plan to recover the car has been pushed back, again.

To get the car and the victim inside, rescuers said the current has to be 1.5 mph or slower. On Monday, it measured 2.8 mph.

“What you’re really worried about is that current 2.5 miles (peer hour) current, 3 miles (per hour) current — if you’re a diver and you go underwater, you could be swept away, swept from the location you’re searching for,” said Hoh.

The Boone County Search and Rescue Team said it will use a barge, crane, tow boat and commercial drivers to get the car.

Alysia Irvin remembers the moment the car went inside the water. She was in the middle of the crash commotion.

“I didn’t think it was going to go over once I saw it all happening and then I thought oh man and you see it go over you don’t know what to do,” said Irvin.

Rescuers have to wait as river conditions slowly move in the right direction

“What those people are trying to do is bring closure to the families and figure out what happened and get the car out,” said Hoh.

Crews are hopeful to try to get the car out of the river by the end of this week.

Aquatic Dreams Diving in the News – WCPO Cincinnati on Recovery Efforts at I-275 Bridge

NEWPORT, Ky.–  Dangerous conditions in the Ohio River are going to further delay efforts to raise the car that fell off the Combs-Hehl Bridge last Tuesday.

“It’s much more challenging than anyone gives [divers] credit for,” John Hoh, an experienced diver and owner of Aquatic Dreams Diving, told WCPO.

Zero visibility and fast-moving debris such as trees and branches are hazardous to divers, Hoh said. The original goal was to get divers into the water Sunday or Monday, but that’s been pushed back to Tuesday or Wednesday – a full week or more since the car fell in.

RELATED: Video shows car falling off Combs-Hehl Bridge

Hoh, who has been diving for 15 years, says divers can’t see their hands in front of their face. We went out with a camera and checked.

“Think about closing your eyes, wandering through a field and trying to find a car in the middle of a field,” Hoh said.

Here is one reason it’s so hard for divers to get to that car on the bottom of the Ohio river: zero visibility. One diving instructor told me in these conditions you can’t see your hand in front of your face.

Posted by Jason Law WCPO on Friday, March 18, 2016

Also, there are big objects – including trees and branches – floating quickly down the river.

“[Divers] have the potential hazard of getting hit from behind by one of these objects. Now, you get hit with a tree at 5 miles per hour, that’s going to knock you unconscious,” Hoh said. “That poses a significant hazard to divers.”

The river is anywhere from 27 to 40 feet deep under the bridge, but it’s not the depth that makes reaching that car so dangerous, said Capt. Dale Appel, director of the Boone County Water Rescue Team.

“This river is very unfriendly right now, very unforgiving. We have to have the current, the speed of the current, in a certain position before any of these divers can do their work,” Appel said Friday.

Appel said they need to wait for the current to slow to 1.5 mph for the sake of divers’ safety. The river was moving at 5 mph Thursday night, he said. Appel has been putting together a plan to get to the car since it fell off the bridge during several chain-reaction crashes involving 12 vehicles. His team has tied a rope to the car and wrapped the rope around a pier so the car doesn’t float downstream in the strong current.