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Defusing under water: practice for emergencies

Defusing under water: practice for emergencies
Police divers on training missions: noiseless breathing apparatus and night vision devices are used. (APA/Eggenberger)
Image: APA/GERD EGGENBERGER

In the lido in Klagenfurt, divers from seven nations are currently practicing for this emergency.

In addition to officials from Austria, officials from Slovenia, Croatia, Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Germany and Portugal are also taking part in the Europol project. Operations are being rehearsed that are already complex and dangerous enough on land, the police said during a local inspection on Tuesday. Practice is for situations in which it is a matter of life and death in an emergency.

Unlike the forces of the demining service, who are responsible for recovering war relics and rendering them harmless, the defusing service is used when it comes to self-made or converted dangerous objects, said John Eberhardt from the Special Forces Directorate: “The majority of operations are rotating But it’s about prevention – for example, about searching places on and in the water.” These can be sensitive areas at major events or state visits.

35 kilo heavy equipment

According to Eberhardt, the work of the rescue divers has very little to do with normal scuba diving. It starts with the equipment, which weighs around 35 kilograms and was specially developed for the special unit. The breathing apparatus works silently and with a closed circuit in order not to emit air bubbles, all parts of the equipment are non-magnetic, and no lights are switched on under floating platforms, but work with night vision devices, because pressure changes, noise, magnets and even light rays could already sensitive ignition mechanisms trigger.

You shouldn’t imagine defusing underwater as you would on land, Eberhardt confirmed: “Even with small explosions under water, you wouldn’t have a chance of surviving.” Therefore, the most common method of rendering something harmless under water is to disassemble the object into its individual parts by means of targeted fire.

There are currently four divers from the defusing service in Austria, and they are supported by twelve divers from the Cobra task force, for example during searches. Training courses like the current one at Lake Wörthersee not only serve to consolidate what has been learned and to practice how to use it, says Eberhardt: “It’s also learning from one another.”

Source: Nachrichten

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