Humminbird assistance helped in Lake Lanier crash recovery

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Splatter.

That was what Humminbird marketing product manager Bill Carson asked about when he was enlisted to help the Georgia Department of Natural Resources recover the body of one of two boys killed in a high-profile boating accident on Lake Lanier last summer.

The recovery took more than a month, in part because DNR officials were unable to isolate exactly where the crash occurred.

That’s where splatter came in.

“When the GPS sits in one place a long time you have something called splatter,” Carson told Soundings Trade Only.

Wind and water motion actually create an image resembling a splatter when one zooms in, Carson said.

Using the prevailing wind, the point of estimated impact, the coordinates given by TowBoatUS and the splatter, Carson helped the DNR pinpoint a more precise location of where the body of 13-year-old Griffin Prince might be.

Carson became involved in the case, which kept the marine industry and the Atlanta area riveted last summer after a boat slammed into a pontoon boat, killing 9- and 13-year-old brothers, when he was enlisted to help.

Carson had offered to assist in the recovery by using Humminbird’s three-dimensional 360-degree fishfinder technology to sift through deep, murky waters where trees beneath the surface were a natural entanglement for fishing line and other debris.

Humminbird 360 Imaging can see in all directions, which helped assist in the recovery effort, Carson told Soundings Trade Only.

“There’s nothing else like this on the market” because it can function in shallow water and the boat doesn’t need to pass an object to see it, Carson said.

“Search-and-rescue groups that buy our imaging do it … because most people drown in less than 30 feet of water,” Carson said. “With the side imaging you can look all around the boat.”

The murky waters were so dense with trees that divers were literally climbing submerged trees as high as 60 feet, where Carson’s data had estimated that the teen’s body was trapped.

“I was watching divers go down in pairs with a rope, and one was holding one end and the other was holding the other,” Carson said.

The rope would inevitably become entangled and a diver would have to swim up and over, around the obstacle, and start the process again.

Carson is working on a training program with the DNR to help it use all of the technological tools — the Humminbird 360 retails for about $2,000 — to their fullest capability.

“They’ve faced budget cuts like everyone else,” Carson said. “This way they can use the resources they have.”

— Reagan Haynes

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