University of Delaware’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment (CEOE) scientists were involved in a search and recovery mission after an underwater vehicle (AUV) went missing in the Cayman Islands.
Oceanographers in the School of Marine Science and Policy, were testing the AUV off Little Cayman for use in a study on coral reefs and scientific diving. After it failed to re-surface, UD mobilized a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) to Little Cayman.
On the fourth day, after calculating the search areas, they set out to recover the AUV. With limited visibility, strong ocean currents and slippery conditions, CEOE scientists managed to detect and retrieve the missing AUV, bringing it back to the surface with only minor scratches.
The missing AUV hid wedged along a submerged limestone wall at an estimated depth of 500 feet, for four days until CEOE’s ROV, with a combined team effort, came to the rescue.