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Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office adds new team member: a drone

Posted at 5:46 PM, Jun 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-14 19:46:10-04

TWIN FALLS, Idaho — The Twin Falls County Sheriff's Office Search and Rescue department is adding a new water rescue drone.

This drone will help aid in search and rescue mission such as equipment recovery, finding evidence, and recovering bodies of drown victims.

The drone can dive three football fields deep and is equipped with a 200 degree rotating camera with LED's and six magnetic rotors that help it move and swivel 360 degrees underwater.

“The underwater ROV is designed to assist us with boat crash investigations, evidence collection, and recovery of items that would be below the surface,” said Sergeant Kenneth Mecil with the search and rescue department of the Twin Falls County Sheriffs Office.

drone remote

Sergeant Mencil said he's excited for the new acquisition as it will help speed up search times for rescue missions.

“One of the goals of the Twin Falls County sheriff's office when we are involved year after year it seems with drownings in the river, in our reservoirs is we want to be able to locate those individuals quickly,” he said.

Related: Family members travel to Idaho to search for missing man

Most dive teams require nine divers to help with equipment, diving and execution of any search and rescue missions.

"It’s not a fast process, whereas this ROV, I can throw in the back of my truck and within drive time of getting to the location, within five minutes I'm in the water and this drone is swimming and looking," said Mencil.

Mencil hopes this drone isn't used often for rescue mission and asks for those in the Magic Valley to abide by water safety regulations.

“You know, the wearing of life jackets, be familiar of the places you are going to swim in, staying out of dangerous waters. It goes a long way, and you will find yourself able to recreate safely and making it back home at the end of the day,” he said.