Sunday, January 01, 2006

VideoRay Swimming Robot Records Video of Crash Site of DC-3 Plane Shot Down in 1952


Video Ray
Press Release
March 19, 2005

Internal and External Assessment Handled by 8-Pound MicroROV Before Wreck is Raised By Swedish Navy.

Exton, PA - A VideoRay ROV (remotely operated vehicle) was the tool of choice when the Swedish Navy equipped the Belos vessel to investigate the crash scene of a Douglas DC-3 airplane that disappeared without a trace in June 1952 over the Baltic Sea. Deployed directly from the Belos, despite sea conditions too rough to deploy other ROVs, the VideoRay successfully video recorded the inside and outside of the wreck at depths over 400 feet.

Replacing divers in tight, fragile, and dangerous conditions, the VideoRay camera eye gathered details and clues that will help the Swedish Navy piece together the final moments of the aircraft downed by Russian gunfire.

Bob Christ of VideoRay and Daniel Karlsson of Wildland Fire International AB of Sweden returned to the wreck in mid-October 2003, following discovery of the DC-3 by a commercial diving company the previous summer. Christ, an ATP rated aircraft pilot, was the operator of the VideoRay and ATP rated aircraft pilot. Daniel Karlsson heads up the fire and rescue division of Wildland Fire and oversaw six dives by the VideoRay aboard the Belos in rough waters east of Gotska Sandon Island, Sweden.

The 8-pound VideoRay II submersible was equipped with an Imagenex 851 scanning sonar used to initially locate the wreck. The tiny, yellow VideoRay submersible was launched by hand through the ship’s moon pool. Lighting and recording the scene, the propeller-operated VideoRay gathered crisp video of the fuselage, cabin, panels, hatches, and wings.

The sub, about the size of a boot box, slipped through an opening of the cargo door above the mud line. A tether attached the sub to a portable control box in the boat and the ROV operator, who watches the video live on a screen. Among other details, the VideoRay captured images of the bullet holes throughout the fuselage and sheared hinges on the exit door

“This mission couldn’t have been completed any other way,” said Karlsson, who has used the VideoRay in different other missions. “Divers can’t sustain at these depths, and the motion of their fins would disturb the fragile scene. The VideoRay is the only ROV that could document places essential to the investigation.” VideoRay microROVs have been used to assess other historic wrecks, including the USS Arizona battleship in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, and a B-29 bomber found in Lake Mead, Nevada.

Bob Christ added, “While I’ve worked over 10 different wreck sites throughout the world with ROVs, these are the most extreme conditions I’ve experienced. The VideoRay is the only vehicle that could accomplish the mission.” Since this expedition, Christ’s services have become available for hire on his new company – see .



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