Franklin County deputies buy SARbot to prevent drownings - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Franklin County deputies buy SARbot to prevent drownings

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KENNEWICK, Wash. -- After nearly two years of research, planning and fundraising, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office finally raised enough money to purchase the SARBot, a robot which will be used to assist in drownings and body recoveries.

The $83,000 piece of sonar technology was paid for by contribution from Ports of Pasco and Kennewick, the Franklin County Sheriff's Office as well as private and business donations.

The Columbia Basin Rescue Team will also be trained.

"The SARBot is going to have different limitations and strengths than the dive team.  We think there's going to be areas where it will excel,  and there's areas where it won't be able to operate. And what we're most excited about is the areas it will excel and we expect it to be slow moving water, murky water, black water," says Ryan Hintz, the training coordinator for Columbia Basin Dive Rescue.

Deputy Terry Brown says four deputies will be trained on it and then they hope to also train the divers as well as some firefighters.

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