there is to know about drowning victims like how to find them,
what techniques to use in the search for them, what happens to
them under water and cries for help from relatives.
This page contains
extremely delicate or sensitive information that can cause a
person to have psychological problems or worse. If a person was
close with a drowning victim or is sensitive by nature or when
one is not ABSOLUTELY sure the content can be red without ANY
psychological problem, please ask someone else to investigate
This page was
written for those who are desperately searching for help or
for information in case of a drowning victim. Our company receives
on a yearly basis dozens of requests for help from private
people and government agencies for locating a person that is assumed to
have become the victim of drowning.
The goal is,
among other things, to discuss all possible techniques and other
means to locate a drowning victim as well as to assist GO's and
NGO's (Governmental Organizations and Non-Governmental
Organizations) or private persons who are on a quest to find a
missing victim of drowning.
is frequently asked for it's expertise in (extremely) high tech equipment such as special sonar devices,
magnetometers, metal detectors, GPR (Ground Penetrating Radar),
ROV (Remotely Operated Vehicle) in case of general emergencies
but also specifically in the field of locating drowning victims.
On this page, every possible aspect that is known to us and is thought
to be of some help will be added in order to inform anyone that
has interest in this. We will not only handle the in survey
involved techniques but also the biological fazes and aspects
involved in drowning. This is to give an overall view of how a body reacts to the
environment in order to help locate it. Again we stress that
this information can be very painful for all that lost a close
We will also
give attention to specific cases in which a person is missing
and believed to be drowned by means of separate pages where a
family or person can ask for assistance. We ask from everyone who
reads this to have a look at those requests. Please help where
ever you can and spend some time reading the stories of the
What is a part of the "real
suffer or pain" of the people that stay behind?
past years Metaldec International encountered numerous events in
which a drowning victim was involved.
The stories are all
dramatic and we think that people who read this, should all
understand that for every suffering person that stays behind, it
is very important to know what happened to their loved ones.
Speaking with those who are suffering, we experienced that
nothing is as bad as the unknown. Most people would prefer to
know the truth, no matter how hard it will be instead of sitting
in the dark and not knowing where their loved ones are or what
happened to them. It seems for them very important to have closeure by knowing what happened. Then they can give their
loved one a place of their own choice where they can rest ; a
place where they can go to pay their respects and morn and
remember or cherish their memory.
logical thinking often not help these persons?
Although this article is about a drowning victim, we did not
want to leave this part out. It is very important to know for
all people who try to reason with the ones left behind that
their vision of our logical reality is mostly the opposite of
the person's vision that stayed behind.
this maybe we better use an example of a real accident in which
the parents lost their 29 year-old daughter. Imagine that there
was a boat that sunk due to a collision with a freighter. Their
daughter was still on board. The wreck was located by our
company with extremely sophisticated equipment.
Video's and photos were taken, excessively from the collision
area where the boat was sunk. The investigators (surveyors)
approached the evidence, shown by the equipment with simple
logic. The exact explanation was inevitable and without any
doubt from the investigators point of view.
the father did not believe his daughter came to rest at that
spot where we found the shipwreck that could not be mistaken for
something else. He even believed it was THE wreck in which his
daughter went down. In short, he had still a lot of other
doubts. The surveyor who found the boat of course once asked: "What
is it that your mind still won't accept?" His answer was so
very clear and for all that reads this is clearly
started his plea with the following words:
one ever did see the bones of my daughter and if they did, could
they be not from someone else? I think that none of the survey
team and others can give me 100% proof in this so I started
thinking; if she was still alive, where would she be; what
happened to her? Maybe she suffers from amnesia so she does not
know where she is or forgot her way home or maybe some criminal
holds her captive as a hostage. Then she COULD not come home."
spoke many words of the same purport and it became clear to the
team member that spoke to him that our rational thinking is
often of no value to people in that condition. The father
reasoned in the opposite way namely:
If she is still alive, what kept her all these years from coming
home? This is the way the ones however, that never lost a loved
one like that, probably reason:
did not come home for so long, we found her shipwreck with the
imprints of the freighter that caused the collision, we even
spoke to the survivor (her fiancé) who went down with her in the
ship but could not save her and saw her drown. The ship was
found (with some miles error) at exactly the right spot where it
should be, etc.
IS MOST LIKELY OF NO CONCERN TO THE ONES WHO SUFFER. In their
world logic in that particular part is gone and the reason why
is very simple. It is HOPE that in every aspect will turn
over the balance to them when it is put against reason. One must
remember in such situations that the person is mostly "assumed"
to be drowned, but still missing so what is logic worth to them?
clearly shows that these people need help very much so they can
pick up their lives and start the process of mourning and
eventually can bare the pain of the things that happened. For
the surveyor that tries to locate the drowning victim and / or
missing person, they must keep constantly in mind that they
NEVER will bring good news. There are namely two options:
The victim can't
be found so all hope for the people left behind that want to
close the story is gone, however they keep hoping, no matter
how little it may seem.
The victim is
found and will destroy all hope for a person that was left
behind. He loses all hope to see their loved one ever again,
while in the other case there is always hope but pain for
There for all that are involved in solving such cases should
never think they can bring back a loved one. They will bring
back a dead body and that is the harsh reality.
Who's job is it to find drowning victims?
many countries several institutes, foundations, (governmental)
organizations and others are involved in trying to find drowning
victims. In the Netherlands, most drowning victims are searched
for by governmental organizations like the Fire Department,
Police, Coastguard, Royal Navy and Directorate General of Public
Works and Water Management (Dutch name is Rijkswaterstaat)
Often a victim of drowning is first reported missing. This is
usually done at the local police office that will examine the
report and decide if they will start up a survey to find the
person suspected to have become a victim of drowning. If the police
finds enough reason to believe the missing person should be
located underwater, normally they will start up the
investigation for the period they think is sufficient.
case of an accident (such as car in the water or a swimmer), usually the first officials that arrive at
the scene are the Fire Department and/or Police that normally in
turn informs some others like the Directorate General of Public
Works and Water Management and/or Police department with special
Side-scan sonar equipment and dredge teams including helicopters to assist in the search.
Who can help when the governmental organization do not or can't
the Netherlands it will become extremely difficult to find
assistance when the police or other
governmental organizations do not find reasons to believe the
missing person became the victim of drowning. People often
search for years to find help without any result. The same
happens when the officials are finished surveying and declare
"the person can not be found". The people left behind mostly
find the time that the officials used to search for their loved ones way
too short, so they want to extend it but with what and whom?
The only known
non-governmental organization in The Netherlands (at the time of
writing this article) are the ones that are presented below.
They train their dogs or practice with their equipment on a
regular basis. Their drowning dogs are trained to smell the gas
or odor that is released true the water column by a drowning
victim up to rather extreme depths. The only foundations that
already proved them selves and are known to the author at the
moment of writing this article are:
(Stichting Opsporings Apparatuur Drenkelingen)
SOAD is mainly specialized in detecting drowning victims
on the bottom by towing a special kind of dredge over the area
of interest over the bottom. A very sophisticated system that
has proven it's vital use a lot in the past. They can be
contacted true their website or call their tel. nr.
+31-(0)527-683442 or true the coast guard Centrum
Signi foundation's goal is
about the same as written above, namely to find missing persons
using special dogs and some supporting equipment. However, they
are mainly focused to finding drowning victims using drowning
dogs and other resources.
article was also written to inform people what equipment or
means are necessary or can be of assistance in a thorough
What equipment can be used to search for drowning victims
are often deployed, mostly equipped with infra-red cameras as
shown on the right-hand side that are able to detect temperature
differences as small as tenths of degrees.
On the left-hand side such photo was taken by the coast guard
and shows a life raft in open sea with 9 survivors.
The infrared camera detects temperature differences and
processes this data to a visual recognizable image. All objects
have their own temperature that differs from other objects. When
a relatively warm body is floating at the water surface, the
generated or remaining heat in it's body causes the camera to
see the difference in the surrounding water that has another
becomes harder to detect a drowning victim as soon as it is
cooled off excessively or is already deceased because the body
temperature will drop rapidly and tries to take on the
surrounding water temperature. However in the morning or
evening, the temperature of the air increases or drops rapidly
while the water temperature will stay about the same. This will
cause an increase of chance to detect a drowning victim again
because a body, alive or dead will adapt more excessively to the
surrounding air temperature then the water does. All this is
only relevant when the drowning victim is floating at the
of boats with dogs:
aid in searching for missing persons presumed drowned, is the
deployment of boats surveying the surface in an attempt to
visually locate the victim, also using binoculars. Often dogs
are used in the boats to try to pick up the scent of a human.
has been said that there is a huge difference in dogs trained to
locate alive human bodies like in earth quake areas, and dogs
trained to search specifically for deceased persons; in general
by picking up the sents of a deteriorating human body.
One can compare it with a dog that was trained to locate drugs.
It can never detect explosives and the other way around. Of
course a dog can be trained on both as is with deceased drowning
victims and earth quake victims, but we like not to comment on
that because we are not specialized in that field.
The smell capacity of dogs is enormous compared to humans. Dogs
can sense a human body, dead or alive, over a vast area,
depending on wind direction and other factors. When a deceased
body is in a decomposing state, the smell will be a lot
stronger, even so much that humans can detect it also.
So for dogs it will be much easier to detect a deteriorating
body and that increases as further the body is deteriorating. In
the deteriorating process, when a body lies (deep) on the bottom
underwater, it releases decomposing gasses that a dog will
sense. The dog can penetrate deep waters to find a body on the
bottom, thanks to the molecular particles that are released by
the decomposing body traveling to the surface and picked up by
the dog's smell.
When this decompose process is done, it is harder for a dog to
sense the diseased body but certainly not impossible. In fact,
in numerous cases dogs could smell a body some years later after
burial for example or months later after drowning and lying on
the bottom underwater.
of people on the shores:
people on the shore are sometimes put on watch to see if they
can detect anomalies or objects on the water surface. Of course
this is only possible when the water is not too wide. However,
they often can search the fringes of reeds and bushes or shrubs
on the bank of the river or channel to see if the drowning
victim washed ashore and is stuck in the riverbank. That often
Soon additional information will be added.
information about drowning can be found