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Video: http://www.wusa9.com/news/local/story.aspx?storyid=77389&catid=158



LORTON, Va. - (WUSA) - A search is underway for a missing Fairfax county police diver in Pohick Bay in southern Fairfax county. The diver was involved in a training excercise Tuesday afternoon, which began at about 1:30 p.m., and he was first reported missing at about 2:45 p.m., according to Officer Don Gotthardt, a spokesman for Fairfax county police.
Gotthardt says crews from Fairfax county police and Fairfax county fire/rescue immediately began trying to locate the missing diver, and are continuing that search, using helicopters, marine patrol units, and canine units. Those Fairfax county crews are also being assisted by personnel from city of Alexandria and Prince William county police and fire, as well as the U.S. Coast guard, and other agencies.
Gotthardt says police divers are used primarily for search and rescue missions, and are also utilized for gathering of evidence in or near bodies of water. The missing diver involved in Tuesday's training excercise is only identified at this point as a male police officer. Police were unable to provide any details about the nature of the training exercise that the missing diver was involved in.
We'll have more information on this incident as soon as its available.

Story From: WUSA9
 

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Search Continues for Missing Fairfax Officer

By Tom Jackman and Jerry Markon
Washington Post Staff Writers
Wednesday, October 22, 2008; 10:20 AM

Search and rescue teams continued this morning to scour the waters near the Mason Neck area after a Fairfax County police officer disappeared during a diving exercise in Pohick Bay.
Police did not release the officer's name but said he is a male. About 15 people were involved in the training exercise yesterday afternoon, including members of the police dive team and helicopter and marine patrol units as well as several Fairfax firefighters, said Fairfax Officer Don Gotthardt, a police spokesman.
The exercise began about 1:30 p.m., Gotthardt said, and the officer was reported missing about 2:45 p.m.
Boats and helicopters from 10 neighboring jurisdictions swooped in to scour Pohick Bay in southeastern Fairfax, which is bordered by Mason Neck on the south and Fort Belvoir on the north.
Fairfax Officer Tawny Wright said the officer was wearing a dry suit rather than a wet suit; a dry suit is used in cold water and might enable the missing officer to survive longer in the wind-swept waters. He was not wearing an oxygen tank or diving apparatus.
"His role in the training did not require diving equipment," Wright said.
Wright said the exercise involved training with a helicopter, but she did not have further details.
More than 10 inflatable and flat-bottom boats crisscrossed Pohick Bay into the evening darkness while helicopters circled above. The bay forms the western branch of Gunston Cove, which opens into the Potomac River.
"Every jurisdiction that has a boat is here," said Lt. Raul Castillo of the Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department.
Some of the search boats were equipped with sonar, and helicopters used infrared cameras, which can sense heat sources even in darkness.
Police asked property owners along the bay to help with the search, and they said residents had responded by going out on their piers to see whether they could spot anything.
At the Pohick Bay Marina, ambulances and other rescue vehicles idled, waiting to be pressed into service.
As nightfall arrived, seven boats with flashing lights patrolled an area at least two miles wide that extended beyond Gunston Cove to the coast of Charles County in Maryland. Police said they were expanding their search into the Potomac, in case the current had pulled the officer out of the bay.
The bay is bordered on the south by Pohick Bay Regional Park, part of the Northern Virginia Regional Park Authority. The park is about 25 miles south of Washington and advertises itself as one of only three access points to the Potomac in Northern Virginia.
Pohick Bay is less than a mile wide at its widest point, where it flows into Gunston Cove. But the cove, as it enters the Potomac, is about 1 1/2 miles wide.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/10/22/AR2008102201164.html
 
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