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Source: South Australia Police

Specialist police divers from SAPOL’s Special Tasks and Rescue (STAR) Group Water Operations Unit are currently training in sinkholes in various parts of Limestone Coast, including the iconic Kilsbys Sinkhole, Piccaninnie Ponds, Engelbrechts Cave, Pines Sinkhole and One Tree Sinkhole.

The purpose of the training is to prepare the Group to assist with various types of investigations and evidence gathering which presents unique challenges in the sinkhole environments of the South East Region. Considerable depth and low visibility are some of the challenges the sinkholes provide. Training is focusing on body retrieval and evidence gathering at different depths.

The focus of this year’s training has been on locating and retrieving deceased persons and in that process, gathering evidence that would be required for a coronial inquiry.

Members of the Water Operations Unit participate in regular training, strengthening their skills in controlled search patterns, the locating and mapping and recording of various simulated search items and photography and recovery of located objects for evidentiary purposes.

The annual training ensures that the unit is ready to respond to any incidents that may occur across the State and in particular the unique sinkhole environment’s that attract visitors from all over the world. Involving 9 police divers, the training tests equipment and trains divers to ensure the unit can continue to respond 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Sergeant David Bacchus said that the unit continues to be well supported by local landholders, tourism operators and government department’s to ensure it remains ready to assist the public in times of emergency