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Prospect Heights Fire Takes Precautions; Requests Divers to Help Search for Kids Feared to Be Underwater in Pond Near Piper Ln

Thu July 07 2011 5:37 pm
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VIDEO: Divers search pond near 500 Piper Lane in Prospect Heights Wednesday afternoon.

Prospect Heights firefighter/paramedics and police responded about 3:15 p.m. Wednesday to a report that a Pace bus driver saw two kids in a pond at 500 Piper Lane. The report was that the kids were no longer seen, but that a red bike was still in the area.

Prospect Heights upgraded the response to a Code 4 dive — a response for working dive operations. Divers responded to the scene from fire departments from Deerfield, Glenview, Highwood, Lincolnshire-Riverwoods, Long Grove, North Maine, Northbrook, Wheeling, Wilmette and Winnetka.

Fire department rescue ambulances from Arlington Heights and Mount Prospect were requested to standby in staging in case there were two victims. The ambulances stood by in the staging area, just north of the pond. Rescuers from a Prospect Heights rescue ambulance were on the scene, but were committed to dive operations.

Several divers entered the water. Underwater “imaging” was conducted with a Northbrook Fire Department side-scan sonar device to look for figures that could indicate bodies in the water. The side-scan sonar device can show high resolution underwater images by using sound waves to ‘see’ underwater. After at least three underwater scans of the pond from different vantage points, the firefighters and divers determined that the information that the children were in the pond was not credible. The search was terminated about 4:10 p.m. Wednesday.

All firefighters and divers were released. A large crowd of concerned citizens from apartments just east of the pond came out to watch the large fire department operation. They were relieved, as were the firefighters, that the suspicion that children may have been in the pond turned out to be false. A total of 17 divers responded to the water rescue operation

The incident reveals the need for witnesses to stay in the area after reporting a water rescue emergency and point out where possible victims were observed at risk in the water. The information helps firefighters locate the entry point in the water. The information could save minutes that could prove lifesaving in an actual water rescue operation.

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