Certified Scuba Divers in West Texas?

Even in an area with very few bodies of water, few Midland county first responders are prepared if they have to go underwater.
Certified Scuba Divers in West Texas?
Certified Scuba Divers in West Texas?(CBS7)
Published: Jan. 20, 2023 at 7:59 PM CST
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MIDLAND, Texas (KOSA) -The last time divers were needed in West Texas for a search and rescue was over 30 years ago.

Even in an area with very few bodies of water, few Midland county first responders are prepared if they have to go underwater.

“There’s a group of us that are in Fire, EMS, Law Enforcement, and even prior military that if we had the training we would offer our skills to do that locally,” said Justin Bunch, Emergency Manager Coordinator, Midland County

It’s no secret that West Texas doesn’t have a lot of bodies of water and with those bodies of water being mostly man-made there isn’t a huge need for scuba divers in West Texas when it comes to search and rescue.

But there’s always that one time when special circumstances come calling and there’s a need for it.

The divers that were at Wadley Barron park were Texas Rangers who are experts in search and rescue underwater.

John Kimberly with divers alert network who is a former Navy Diver explains exactly what these divers do underwater and the two styles of searches.

“Which is a square pattern starting extremely close to where they think the object is and work their way out,” said John Kimberly, Owner of Desert Reef Outfitters

Or, they do a circle search.

“And what they do there is assume that the item is at this one point and they extend their search by two feet intervals out. By searching in a circular pattern. With multiple divers in the water then they can cover more area by doing the grid pattern” said Kimberly

With ponds here being murky, Kimberly added that they are most likely using metal detectors to search for what they need but they’re also keeping track of their patterns from the classes these divers have taken so they cover all the water.

“So they’re doing a fin kick out, they’re cutting back 2 feet and they’re doing fin kicks back. So they’re covering narrow areas as they do it sweeping back and forth” said Kimberley

Here in West Texas, there are just around 10 first responders who are scuba diving experienced, and with that many certified they believe they could offer their skills if need be.

“To me, there’s a need for It. We do have large bodies of water versus the duck pond which as you saw was deep enough for those guys to dive and we’ve also got those big retention ponds those oilfield uses” said Bunch

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