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Pittsburgh River Rescue Launches New Vessel With Improved Search Capabilities

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Jason Phox
/
90.5 WESA
The newest River Rescue boat floats down the Allegheny River on Wednesday, May 12, 2021.

Pittsburgh River Rescue launched its newest boat today, which features a new sonar unit for subsurface search and rescue.

Rich Linn, chief of River Rescue, said the new Sea Ark brand vessel’s upgrades include enhanced lighting for searches in the water and the shoreline.

The new boat will be staffed by two police officers and two paramedics, who are all trained as public safety divers. The group completed more than 700 hours of surface, subsurface and boat operations training.

Once the boat is ready for waters this summer, it will become River Rescue's primary rescue vessel, along with the Sea Ark vessel currently in service. Linn said fewer people were out on the water last summer due to the COVID-19 pandemic, so they had fewer rescue efforts. According to Pittsburgh’s EMS 2020 report, Pittsburgh River Rescue conducted 26 rescue operations last year.

“I anticipate we're going to see [water recreation] of that this year,” Linn said. “I really hope so, because the rivers are a great asset that we have here in the city."