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Communication is key for river rescues

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Multiple agencies, dozens of first responders, all jump into action together when it comes to a river search. Communication between them can become a challenge as they organize their search.

Fire and rescue crews from Hampton, East Moline and Coal Valley, all coming together for one mission.

"When you have something like this, everybody responds," said conservation officer for the Illinois DNR, Steve Fransiko.

It's great to have all the extra helping hands, but there comes a challenge keeping crews organized.

"Communication's always a big problem for us being bi-state like that especially when we launch from so many different places," said Matt Schnepple, fire chief for Carbon Cliff/Barstow fire department.

So they have to create a game plan says Fransiko.

"You try to determine who's side it is, Illinois or Iowa, if it's a boating accident," said Fransiko.

From there a lead boating investigator will be assigned who will then communicate with the command center on both sides of the river. So they can communicate to crew on land, water and up in helicopters.

When it comes to the actual search itself they also have to have a plan for that too.

"You start off with your surface searches trying to look for people that are alive," said Fransiko.

Searching the river and Islands. If nothing there then the mission goes to a recovery mission.

"We switch over to site scan sonar looking for a body hit," said Fransiko.

"A beam shoots down into the water and actually kicks back up a picture of what we're looking at under the water," said Schnepple.

All they said are necessary steps for one goal.

"To find the victim for the family so they can get closure," said Fransiko.

Once that lead boating investigator is assigned, they also have the responsibility of pulling crew out of the water when situations aren't safe.