February 20, 2019
The South Carolina Department of Natural Resources (SCDNR) assisted the North Augusta Department of Public Safety in the recovery of a man’s body from the Savannah River on Friday, Feb. 15.
Three divers from SCDNR’s dive team recovered the body from a submerged car at Hammond’s Ferry Boat Ramp in North Augusta, South Carolina. The next day, divers were able to float the vehicle and take it to the landing. SCDNR was the only dive team on scene.
It was determined by the Aiken County Coroner’s Office that the car had been submerged with the man's body inside since the beginning of December. However, the vehicle wasn’t visible until recently because of river flooding over the past few months.
Member’s of the SCDNR’s “A.I.R” (Aquatic Investigations and Recovery) dive team are sworn officers specially trained in the use of diving gear. Team members participate in underwater searches for drowning victims and assist SLED and other law enforcement agencies with evidence recovery in criminal investigations, in addition to their regular duties as state conservation officers.
SCDNR Director Alvin Taylor, himself a former member, understands the dedication required to serve on the dive team. And, like so many other aspects of the job of conservation officer, it's a duty that requires putting service to the public ahead of one's own comfort.
"For the family and friends who are waiting for a loved one to be recovered after a drowning or fatal accident, it's just a terrible time," said Taylor. "Our efforts to bring that loved one home - as quickly as we possibly can - are extremely important to us and to those families. It's a responsibility that we take very seriously."