Application of SARMAP to estimate probable search area for objects lost at sea

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The Search and Rescue Mapping and Analysis Program (SARMAP), a personal computer based search and rescue model with a Windows-based user interface, was employed to predict the probable search area for two accidents: a Rhode Island (RI) couple who were thought to have committed suicide by jumping from the Peu Bridge across the lower East Passage, Narragansett Bay in November 1993 and a shipping container lost at sea from the KAMINA in April 1994 off the coast of Valparaiso, Chile. In the case of the RI couple, simulations were performed assuming that the bodies were negatively, neutrally, and positively buoyant. The most probable search areas were identified for each case and provided to local and state police. The police search, immediately after the incident, included side scan sonar surveys, trawling and diving operations. But, it was unsuccessful in locating either body. In late August 1994, one of the couple's skulls was collected in a fishing trawl - it was found north of the bridge and positively identified. Leg and hip bones were also found several hundred meters north of the bridge. The SARMAP predicted search area for the negatively and neutrally buoyant cases were consistent with retrieval of skeletal parts. In the case of the accident off Chile, a simulation was performed for the movement of a half submerged shipping container lost at sea from the vessel KAMINA. The model correctly predicted the container path and its location over a period of 18 hours when tracking data were available. The two examples for substantially different problems, illustrate SARMAP's ability to provide useful data to assist in search and rescue operations.

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Marine Technology Society Journal





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