St Tammany firefighters say the discovery of a submerged vehicle in the Slidell area underscores the need for diving equipment to investigate similar emergency calls.
They say the car was found in an area off of Interstate 10 East at the Oak Harbor exit.
Public Information Officer Mike Thiel said a diver was able to get into the water and begin checking for occupants within 11 minutes of arriving at the scene.
A fire department driver found no occupants and determined that the car had been in the water for quite some time.
St Tammany’s Fire Protection District #1 trains for similar cases with its Rapid Diver Program which employs proper training and equipment for making quick searches of submerged vehicles.
According to the department, specialized equipment used for the rescues provides divers with quick to deploy SCUBA gear that includes a 10 minute air supply and floatation. It has at least six of the kits ready to go at all times. Each one costs $1,200, and 55 firefighters have been trained to use the gear.