The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across the keyboard.

The tickle of curiosity. The gasp of discovery. Fingers running across a keyboard

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Showing posts with label SinC. Show all posts
Showing posts with label SinC. Show all posts

Monday, February 3, 2014

Police Dive Teams - How to Find People and Evidence Under Water: Information for Writers


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Oxygen toxicity occurs when the lungs take in ...
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Last fall at the Writers' Police Academy, I attended a seminar in how the police dives for evidence and conducts searches for bodies that are underwater.

The divers that we interviewed were all police officers; they trained on a regular basis as a water recovery team. When a need arose, they would leave their normal workday duties and dive.

These divers were involved in cases that included:
* Evidence recovery
* Submerged body recovery, including:
   `accidents
   `suicide
   `victims of a crime

Teams might also participate in:
* Inspecting the hulls of ships in
   anti-narcotics operations
* Explosive Ordnance Disposal (bombs)
   in anti-terrorism efforts

The team that I interviewed maintained a minimum of three dive members per event.
* A below water surface diver
* An attendant diver who stayed on the surface to assist the underwater diver and to signal/communicate
* A supervisor who works on the surface to direct the operation

Video Quick Study (6:05) Norfolk, England but this is the same information that we received.

Most of the diving investigations are done in highly hazardous environments which might include
* Cold temperatures
* Zero visbility
* Contaminated waters including chemical hazards
* Sharp objects that the divers must feel with their hands since they can not see
* Entanglement and entrapment objects such as submerged trees, rocks, and debris

Video Quick Study (3:32) What it looks like under there.
Video Quick Study (8:21) Difficulties of suiting up, moving, and seeing underwater.


This is picture of one of our instructors, "Cookie." Cookie's technique for keeping the heebie-jeebies at bay while he's groping through pitch-black water for a dead body includes singing as loudly as he can. That's why he makes extra bubbles.

Video Quick Study (3:34) includes information on equipment, sonar, finding a car


US Navy 090628-N-5710P-319 A U.S. Navy diver c...
 A U.S. Navy diver conducts a dive supporting Infinite Response 09, a bilateral exercise between the U.S. Navy and the naval forces of a Middle Eastern country (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The team might be called to investigate:
* Natural water ways such as oceans, rivers,
   and ponds
* Dams
* Caves
* Sewage ponds - there's a nasty plot twist for
   you










In some cases sonar is used to reduce diver exposure. This includes side-scan sonar and radial sonar. The sonar can help locate:
* Vessels
* Vehicles
* Planes
* Bodies
* Evidence

Search Patterns:

graphic from Wikipedia

Arc Search

* Also known as a pendulum search and a fishtail search
* The diver has a rope that is fed to him by his attendant diver.
* The diver will start on one side of a designated line (such as a shore
    line) and swim/grope through the water at the far reach of the line.
* At the end of the arc, the diver turns to go back the other way. The
   line is then released at a measured increment, knotted to maintain
   a record, and fed to the diver. For example: if the diver is looking for
   a bicycle the attendant might release a foot and a half of slack between
   arc rotations. If it is a gun, the arcs are much tighter.
* Once the diver has searched the area that can be conveniently reached
   with the rope line, the center point is moved to search another area. 
* This search works best when the general area is known.




graphic from Wikipedia

Circular Search

If the team was out in the water, away from a shore line, they would use a circular grid pattern.

This operates in a similar way as the arc search.
* Fixed central point
* Diver swims 360 degrees before his line is 
   lengthened








Other Search Patterns

* Jackstay - Has divers swimming a straight line along a shore then moving out a length to swim another
   straight line.
* Snagline - When an object is large enough, like a car or fridge, a line can be held in parallel swimmers'
   hands so that it will catch on the item.

English: An Engineer-Diver with KB Bandmask
 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Underwater communication 

Can take place via
* Line signals 
* Communicators

Once an Object is found

* The diver sends up a signal marker
* The GPS coordinates are documented
* The item is elevated using air balloons

Video Quick Study (2:21) You can see the lift bags bringing up a car.

A Body 

* Does not lay flat on the floor of the water. The upper half is held at an angle buoyed by air trapped in the
   body. 
* Will float after about seven days as the body fills with gases
* After several more days as cavities are punctured by fish, birds, and other animals, the body will sink back
   into the water.
* The rate of decomposition depends mostly on water temperatures. The colder the water, the longer the
   body will remain intact.
* The deceased is bagged underwater.
   `This is for the sake of the survivors watching from shore
   `This helps to maintain any evidence that will help investigators

Video Quick Study (2:26) Divers talk about their experience and shows arc, and signalling.
Video Quick Study (3:29) Canadian and American divers certify in ice diving. YIPES! 


Video LONG Study (47:00) If you are writing a SCUBA scene you may want to spend the time learning 
                                about the problems of hypothermia, dry suit, and choices.


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.



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Friday, January 10, 2014

Virginia Is for Mysteries - A SinC Anthology to Die for

Ladies and Gentleman,
I am thrilled to announce a wonderfully fun and successful book launch!


Stan Weidner photographs


Virginia Is for Mysteries is an anthology of short stories,
Studio M. Photography
each one taking place in a different Virginia historical site. All of the stories were written by Virginia-based Sisters in Crime members - so you know it will be good.

We were hosted by The Library of Virginia and supported by Virginia Tourism.

On our very first official day out, we found ourselves on Amazon's Top 10 List for travel books no less. If you are coming to Virginia, these deadly tales are the road best left untraveled.

It is true though, that I enjoy reading novels set in various places before I visit them. I recently did some beta reading for a crime fiction set in New Orleans. As my family and I drove through the city, I kept saying things like, "Oh this is where she was shot!"  and, "This is where they found the third body." It was a little annoying to my teens - but then again most of what I do annoys my teens (it's my job). So if you're headed Virginia way and you want a different perspective on our great state, come with book in hand.



I was thrilled to have two of my short stories included in the book.



Studio M. Photography
Caged Bird takes place at St. John's Church in Richmond, Virginia. This church is the spot where Patrick Henry gave his rousing speech Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death. The grave yard that makes up most of the church yard contains Liza Poe's grave. Elizabeth Poe was Edgar's mom.

This story is about a man in the wrong place at the wrong time with the wrong smoking gun still in his hand.









Studio M. Photography
Key to a Crime - takes place outside of Henricus Historical Park. This is the site where Pocahontas and John Rolfe tobacco farmed and is now interpreted to the 1600s.

In this story, a homeschooling mom finds herself in her pale-blue mini-van driving down 288 - her child is missing, there is a dead body with its red high-heeled foot stuck up at an improbable angle behind her seat, and she sees the flashing blue lights of the state police in her rear-view mirror.








After the wonderful presentations and much laughter, the authors had the opportunity to talk to our readers. The bookstore sold out of our book early in the evening.
Stan Weidner photographs
Stan Weidner photographs






Interested? We are available in print and e-book!

bottom left

Link to Amazon
You can find us at Barnes and Noble and in Virginia, we are getting a lot of support from small
 independent bookstores. Let's support them back!


"First came Poe's mysterious and murderous tales, and then those of Cornwell and Baldacci. Now there's Virginia Is for Mysteries, a brand new collection of wonderfully-told and cleverly-crafted whodunnits."
-Lee Lofland, author of the Macavity-nominated book Police Procedure and Investigation, and founder of the Writers' Police Academy
  
"Creepy, diabolical, and completely delightful! Who knew these otherwise charming authors could be so cleverly sinister? One after the other, these terrific and twisty tales tantalize you, tease you, and surprise you!"
- Hank Phillippi Ryan, Agatha, Anthony, Macavity, and Mary Higgins Clark award-winning author.

"These 17 tales of death bring Virginia to life with some rich characters, clever plots, and great use of setting. From the mountains to the bay, with stops at historic lighthouses, homes, and even the state capitol, this anthology shines new light on the Old Dominion."
- Barb Goffman, Macavity award-winning author


Thank you so much for stopping by. And thank you for your support. When you buy my books, you make it possible for me to continue to bring you helpful articles and keep ThrillWriting free and accessible to all.





Big thank you to Stan Weidner for his photography. Link to Stan's website. Stan is the supportive husband behind my friend and fellow writer, Heather Weidner. You can catch up with her here: link.

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