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Success! STARS first body recovery

After a LONG 11 day search, the bodies of two brothers were successfully identified and recovered using a BlueLink STAR System by the State of Utah.
STARS is a moderately modified BlueROV2 Heavy that includes surface power supply, upgraded lifting/recovery load transfer and an integrated multibeam imaging sonar (Gemini 720ik). Both men were pulled up from ~75ft. water depth using the Newton Gripper and BlueLink Power Tether.

We consider this is a fairly significant accomplishment. The idea for the STAR System was to serve this exact role. Only until very recently, a properly configured and equipped ROV system for First Responders (SAR) would cost in the ballpark of +/-$75K. STARS is less than half of that cost and arguably easier to operate and maintain.
This just further proves that the Blue Robotics ROVs and Accessories are NOT “toys” for hobbyists and are very much capable of professional level performance when operated by professionals. Low costs do not always equal low value!!! Thank you to the Blue Robotics Team for continuing to push the accessibility of underwater technology forward.

More Info on STARS

BlueLink, LLC is an Official Blue Robotics Distributor located in Southern California. www.Blue-Linked.com


Nice, Jeff! Thanks for sharing! Is this the first body recovery using a BlueROV2?

I think so but not sure…! We have a law enforcement customer on the US East Coast who we know located a drowning victim with their BlueROV2 but did not recovery the body with the system. They had rescue divers on site that followed the tether to the drowning victim and then recovered the body by hand.

Anyone one out there know of any other successful recoveries using a BlueROV2?


…Nice… and the gripper held them too? Impressed! My i ask where did you grab the object? …i have experienced that foot was bad idea!, lost the object bec the police wanted me to go leteral with him, and i tryed to tell them i will loose him, but they insisted, had to go down and pick up again, but that was an Argus Rover with a Hyrolek manip(way stronger)… …was my worst fear on my last SAR… Not to be able to recover! (but we found him in a pond where another guy had serched with a cheap drone:/) …Nice work… ! (advise for people that havent done this, its no problem, but Do Not look them in the eyes!..you dont want that picture in your sleep!

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@ROV - 100%, this is not an exact science!! The ROV operator has to make their best interpretation of the best action to move forward. There are a lot of “back seat drivers” that will try to influence you in your operation. In water less than 100 ft deep, if the body is located by the ROV, often the SAR Divers will follow the tether down to the body and recover manually. In this case, the ROV operators were able to get a good “grab” on the victim’s clothing to pull them up with our modified BlueROV2 system. (Typically, an adult human weighs roughly 8-10 lbs in-water following a drowning. There are obvious exceptions to this!!)
The State of Utah has also procured “limb grasping” jaws from BlueLink that fit directly to the BR Newton Gripper. This is an ongoing effort and once we have a satisfactory design, we will release it publically.
Will you be making it to the Blue Robotics “open house” on Oct 25th in California? It would be great to meet you.

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Yes i know … in my case the object/target (whatever you want, dont like to say person, as less personal the better) was at 50m, and rescuedivers can only go to 30m… and the fjord was 500m…so i got a little fustrated bec500m was my limit, but found him after loosing, at 70m… but that was just Luck… Yes i have been thnking of something like a pin/needle to hook on clothing and recover like that?..a Pilot i meet at Argus he had a Big “claw” for this, but its tooo big for BR2!..would like to see what you have made?..i do SAR Non profit… i have lost frends and familiy to the sea, so i know how it is for the families. …her is my last one: https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=2ahUKEwjsibfH3o7kAhVSposKHemyAI8QFjAAegQIBRAB&url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.firda.no%2Fnyheiter%2Fleiteaksjon%2Fbergen%2Fskal-soke-med-miniubat-etter-joran-28-kan-ga-ned-til-300-meter%2Fs%2F5-15-779898&usg=AOvVaw2Ia7gT0ZwVjh_EgvUfCvYz …i meet the parents so it was another experience, and its the last time i will do!..the less personal the better job you do is my oppinion, sad story, and if thePolice had done their job it would be found the same day… but they hardly listen:( …im in Norway so i can not partisipate n this “open house” …but would be cool to meet you All;)…maby some day;)

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Good to hear that you are volunteering for the underwater SAR. We do the same.
When our new larger, limb grasping jaws are ready, we will definitely be sharing. We about to test the first version in the next few days.

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Why not just lasso a limb/torso with a hook/strap then pull a pin to inflate a bouyancy bag that will lift the ‘target’ to the surface?

There are several reasons that the SAR professionals not use that technique for body recoveries but the top couple are:

  • Using a free floating lift bag takes the body out of the control/view of the recovering team.

  • If a rescue diver or ROV can handle the recovery, a human body in water typically weighs 8-10lbs in water making for a fairly easy effort to raise the victim to the surface.

Using a lift bag is definitely a great option for other target types and salvage efforts.

The idea of using a lasso is out there and I remember a recovery in Donner Lake, CA (I think) around 2006-2007 where they were using a SeaBotix LBV but didn’t have a gripper to grab the victim and pull him to the surface. So the recovery team ended up rigging a “lasso” to the front of the LBV and lassoing his arm to pull him to the surface. But in that case a gripper would have been much easier and faster.

Below is a link to a white paper Brock Rosenthal and I put together as a “jumping off point” for body recoveries using MiniROVs. (I think the paper is about 10 years old so it may need some updating.)
Body Recovery Paper