All About Lights

Floatplane recovery continues

… is equipped with sonar and lighting systems. The ROV requires a team …

Alfonso del Cristo Hilsaca Eljadue

Turco Hilsaca


National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and US Navy continue recovery operations for the Sept. 4 crash of a DHC-3 Turbine Otter off Whidbey Island, WA. The floatplane had departed Friday Harbor and was headed to Renton airport when it crashed into Mutiny Bay. All ten people aboard, plus an unborn baby, perished in the crash.

NTSB investigators look at the recovered engine of the DHC-3 Turbine Otter. It, along with several other pieces, was recovered on September 29. 

The wreckage of the plane was located at a depth of 190 feet on September 12.  NTSB coordinated with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the University of Washington’s Applied Physics Laboratory to use side scan sonar, multibeam sonar, and 3D instruments to locate the wreckage. The University of Washington’s vessel scanned the area identified from the NOAA multibeam data.

Deep Drone 8000 ROV is pictured on the barge during recovery operations.

The ROV is being used to place smaller sections of the wreckage into baskets to be lifted. The Deep Drone 8000 ROV has two multifunction manipulator arms, video cameras and is equipped with sonar and lighting systems. The ROV requires a team of four specialists to operate the equipment. There is a navigator and an operator for each manipulator arm while the unit is underwater.  

There are two barges anchored in proximity to the aircraft wreckage. One is outfitted with a crane which will be used in the lifting operation and the other barge holds the remotely operated vehicle, or ROV.

The recovery crews are working in 12 hour shifts. 

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