MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — A new and expensive underwater tool for the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Office was introduced on Thursday — it’s called a Remote Operated Vehicle (ROV).
“It’s roughly the size of a remote control car,” Hennepin County Sheriff Rich Stanek said. “It’s an expensive piece of equipment. It cost us around $150,000-plus.”
Deputies used the new piece of equipment on Monday after a car went into the Mississippi River near the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.
“The car went into the Mississippi River and we didn’t know how many victims were in the vehicle,” sheriff’s office spokeswoman Lisa Kiava said. “We sent out with the ROV and noticed that all the windows were rolled up and one victim was in the back seat. That was a good indication that no one had escaped.”
Unfortunately the driver, identified as 27-year-old Darron Luhrsen, died in the accident.
Sheriff Stanek says the ROV will save his dive team time and will help keep them safe and secure.
The ROV was purchased last year in December and crews spent most of the spring training on how to operate it.
The machine was purchased using federal grant dollars, private donations to the Hennepin County Sheriff’s Foundation and funding from the Lake Minnetonka Conservation District.
So far this year, Hennepin County has had six drownings and 12 near drownings.
In 2012, there were 10 drownings and 15 near drownings.
In 2011, there were a total of 16 drownings and 20 near drawings.