Lowndes dive team ready for rescues - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Lowndes dive team ready for rescues

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By Alicia Eakin - bio | email

September 5, 2008

VALDOSTA, GA (WALB) - When water comes over the bridge, the Lowndes County Search and Rescue Dive team gets busy.

The team works everything from boating accidents to swift water rescues and in worse case scenario, body recovery.

When five people in Thomas County needed to be rescued during Tropical Storm Fay, Lowndes County Rescue Divers were one of the teams called in.

Flood waters had covered a stretch of U-S 84.  Despite barricades, three cars drove on and were submerged.  The people inside clung to their cars and dangled from trees to keep from being swept away. 

It took three hours but all five made it out alive.  "All our training comes together and makes it worth it.  It's a great feeling to know we were able to help," says Diver Michael Crump.

With numerous storms lining up in the Atlantic, the team is using the down time to train for anything else mother nature may throw their way.

"With the recent influx of calls we thought we'd put together a training scenario to keep people fresh and in the water,"  says Chris Lankford, Chief of Dive Operations.

The role they play in a water rescue is vital but they say there are several steps you can take that could also save lives.

"Don't let you kids play in ditches on high water when it's going through a pipe.  That's the worst thing you can do.  Do not ever cross any water that's flowing through a highway," says Assistant Dive Chief Harry Bowden.

"Over in Thomas County, they though they were going through a foot of water across the road.  Don't cross it period."

And keep everyone safe when on the water.

There's about 40 members on the dive team from the Lowndes County Sheriff's office and fire departments around the county.