Underwater Vehicle Extrication: Training for the Hazards

By Walt "Butch" Hendrick and Andrea ZaferesAt 9 p.m. on February 25, 1985, a van with five young passengers sped down a city street and then lost control. It flew off a 10-foot-high embankment and plunged into 15 feet of water in the Mill Basin Creek in Brooklyn, New York. Having recently completed underwater vehicle extrication training, firefighters from the Fire Department of New York's Rescue Company 2 responded. Gearing up en route, the divers arrived fully prepared to enter the 31°F black water. Tethered with a surface tender, a diver entered the submerged van, where he found a 14-year-old girl and took her to the surface. The diver descended to the van again, and resuscita...

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