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San Diego Fire-Rescue gifted new life-saving underwater scooters

Posted at 4:28 PM, Oct 16, 2019
and last updated 2019-10-16 20:54:23-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - San Diego Fire-Rescue unveiled two new tools Wednesday that will help their dive team be faster and more efficient.

"They move about 5 times faster than a diver can swim," Sergeant Rob Brown, with the SDFD Dive Team, said. The first hour during a search is crucial, he added. It could mean the difference between life or death.

According to the website, DiveX, the scooters can go up to 600 feet underwater and can drive about 3 miles-per-hour.

"It reduces our air consumption, allows us to stay under longer, as well as reduce diver fatigue, so we can get more reps in while we're conducting searches," Brown said.

The team's had scooters since the 1990's but the new Piranhas are three generations ahead of what the team's been using, according to Brown.

The need became apparent in August of 2018, when a 12-year-old girl fell off a boat in the San Vicente Reservoir. Her body was found days later.

The team's request was answered by the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation. They donated two scooters to the team, costing about $5,000 each.

"We cannot say enough how grateful we are for the support of the San Diego Fire-Rescue Foundation in getting this equipment to us," Brown said.

The foundation is accepting donations to afford four more scooters here.

Brown said the scooters are lightweight and they can buy the batteries at Home Depot, saying they're the same as those power tools use.