State police test new diving apparatus in Union quarry

By Bane Okholm | Nov 29, 2012
Photo by: Bane Okholm Maine State Police Detective Jerry Coleman surfaces during a dive in the Union quarry Nov. 28.

Union — The Maine State Police on Nov. 28 tested diving equipment that will allow personnel to stay submerged with a "reasonably unlimited supply of air."

Detective Michael Chavez said that the state police used grant funds to purchase an Interspiro surface supply diving panel, which provides two divers at a time with compressed air from land-based tanks. A whistle alerts support staff when tanks attached to the panel must be changed, allowing the divers to experience no interruption in air flow.

Chavez described the surface supply system as "unique, and apart from what we normally do."

Divers will still wear standalone compressed air tanks as a precaution, but in the event of an emergency the air supply lines, which are rated for 2,000 pounds, can be used to quickly pull divers to safety either manually or with vehicular assistance.

Chavez said that the Union limestone quarry on Route 17 was used for the inaugural test due to its shallow depth, which the owner reportedly told police was approximately 125 feet.

During the Nov. 28 exercise, divers Detective Jerry Coleman and Trooper Dan Wooster depleted tanks in roughly 13-minute intervals, but stayed submerged for more than 30 minutes in the initial test and reached a depth of 90 feet.

Courier Publications reporter Bane Okholm can be reached at 594-4401 ext. 125 or by email at bokholm@courierpublicationsllc.com.

Maine State Police Detective Jerry Coleman dons scuba gear for a dive in the flooded limestone quarry in Union Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
From left, Interspiro representative Scott DeHart and Trooper Elisha Fowlie help Detective Jerry Coleman suit up in scuba gear at the Union quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Trooper Elisha Fowlie dons a headset that will allow him to communicate with divers at the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Detective Jerry Coleman eases into the waters of the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Maine State Trooper Jeremiah Wesbrock guides an air tube for a submerged diver at the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Maine State Trooper Dan Worcester heads for deeper water at the Union quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Trooper Jeremiah Wesbrock keeps an eye on the air tube for Detective Jerry Coleman at the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Trooper Jarod Stedman adjusts the air tube for Trooper Dan Worcester at the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Maine State Police personnel coil slack in an air tube at the Union quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Detective Jerry Coleman momentarily surfaces during a dive at the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Detective Jerry Coleman submerges in the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Interspiro representative Scott DeHart monitors an app during the Maine State Police's dive in the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
A close view of Interspiro's surface supply diving panel, used by the Maine State Police during the Union quarry dive Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Bubbles rise from divers at 90 feet below the surface in the Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Detective Jerry Coleman returns to shore following a successful dive in the Union quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Trooper Dan Worcester signals to Trooper Jarod Stedman following a successful dive in the Union quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
Trooper Jerry Coleman, left, and Trooper Dan Worcester wade ashore at the flooded Union limestone quarry Nov. 28. (Photo by: Bane Okholm)
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