NUSAR, Drone Unit Respond To Woodbury Incident

Published: April 12, 2019 at 07:15 am


WOODBURY— Two Newtown-based emergency service units responded early on the morning of Sunday, April 7, to Woodbury to search a pond near Nonnewaug High School where it was thought that the victim or victims of a one-vehicle auto accident might be found.

Responding to the 2:16 am call for assistance from Woodbury were Newtown Underwater Search & Rescue (NUSAR), which is a group of volunteer scuba divers, and the Newtown Police Department’s drone unit.

Nine NUSAR staffers mobilized, and two NUSAR divers entered the pond to search for possible victims, said NUSAR Chief Mike McCarthy. Dr Mike Cassetta served as incident commander for NUSAR.

Also, Newtown police employed their recently-acquired quadracopter drone, which has a thermal sensor that detects signs of body heat from a distance, said Lieutenant David Kullgren.

State police dispatched a K-9 team to the scene to search for any victims.

However, the various search efforts proved fruitless, as there were no people in the pond.

In the incident, a 2001 Saab 9-5 auto had driven off the road near 283 Middle Road Turnpike and was found lying up against some trees at the water’s edge. As it turned out, the man who had been driving the car had fled the scene, a fact that was initially unknown by the searchers.

A witness near the accident scene had told police that she had heard some splashing in the water after the 1:43 am crash.

The man who had been driving the Saab was located at his Woodbury residence several hours later, according to police. Martin Caine, 27, was charged with evading responsibility, making a restricted turn, and interfering with an investigation. Caine reported no injuries. He was released on bail and is scheduled to appear in Connecticut Superior Court in Waterbury on April 17.

Woodbury Fire Chief Janet Morgan estimated that about 35 emergency service responders went to the incident. Chief Morgan thanked the Newtown units for their help at the scene.

NUSAR again was called into service about 1:23 pm on April 7, when it was summoned to help a boater on Lake Lillinonah whose engine had failed. NUSAR towed the disabled boat back to the state boat launch on Route 133 in Bridgewater, said Chief McCarthy.

Chief McCarthy noted that the Lake Lillinonah Marine Patrol has not yet started its seasonal weekend lake patrols.


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