Technology to recreate Catamaran electrocution for investigation - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

Technology to recreate Catamaran electrocution for investigation

Source: KLTV Source: KLTV
Source: KLTV Source: KLTV

Weather has briefly stalled an investigation into the weekend boating incident that killed three Boy Scouts on Lake O’ the Pines, according to Game Warden Captain Quint Balkcom.

A three-person investigative team for Texas Parks and Wildlife must wait for a rainy weather pattern to clear around Alley Johnson Creek Recreation Area before beginning their work mapping the scene where the Hallville Boy Scout ’s Hobicat Catamaran collided with overhead power lines. Will Brannon, 17, and Heath Faucheux, 16, died Saturday near Alley Creek, on Lake O' The Pines. A third Scout, Thomas Larry, died Monday at a hospital in Shreveport.

Once able to proceed, investigators will use state-of-the-art technology to recreate the environment on a computer.

“We’ll take the actual GPS locations of the power lines, the boat ramp and where it is believed the boat was in the water,” said Balkcom, a supervisor and certified level 3 crash investigator.

Field officers that specialize in investigations use a 360-degree laser-fed camera to scan the environment surrounding an incident, Balkcom said. Eyewitness statements and “a conglomerate of information” are factored into the recreation, as well.

“We know what happened, we know the mast of a Catamaran the Boy Scouts were sailing came in contact with a power line. But what we don’t yet know is how or why they were where they were, and unfortunately, anyone who could tell us that didn’t survive the incident,” Balkcom said.

The computer-generated environment typically takes a couple weeks to complete, Balkcom said. In the past investigators would diagram a scene by hand.

“As technology progresses and funds allow, we move into new technology, just as any other business would do,” Balkcom said.

Across the state, there are only about 15 field officers who are investigators.

Balkcom said the team has worked on at least three statewide events so far this year, including fatal incidents at Lake Conroe and Possum Kingdom.

“Unfortunately, it’s been a busy year,” he said.

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