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Sonar used to find body of Buckman Bridge crash victim

by: Catherine Varnum Updated:


JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - Recovery crews used sonar to find the victim's body in Wednesday’s Buckman Bridge fatal crash. Emergency personnel showed Action News exactly how the sonar technology was put to work.

The sonar equipment is crucial to helping both the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office and the Jacksonville Fire and Rescue Department search for things in murky waters. At JFRD Station 40, they had a boat equipped with sonar.

JFRD showed us exactly how it works. The dolphin, as they call it, is put in the water alongside the boat. It can look for things as deep as 450 feet. From inside the boat, people are watching the computer for objects that could look like a car or a person.  

This system sends a pulse of sound into the water. If an object is in the path of the sound pulse, the sound bounces off the object and returns an "echo" to the system. This is what JSO used to help find the 48-year-old man killed in the Buckman crash. One of the chiefs with JFRD said while it is helpful, sometimes it can take hours.

"Without it, you’re searching for a needle in a haystack. Everybody knows the color of our river. It's not easy to find something. You don't know where it's at. Without this technology, that person would be lost until nature took its course,” said Kurtis Wilson, a JFRD division chief.