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Case Studies

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Marine Magnetometer aids in closure of missing woman case in South Dakota

Disclaimer: This case study is solely for the purpose of educating our readers, and in no way, reflects Unique Group's position as benefiting from a tragedy. Through this example, we hope to raise awareness of how the equipment in focus can help someone else in a similar case of emergency.

Client Central Divers LLC
Country USA
Year 2021
Service Details

Unique Group’s Survey Equipment division provides technologically advanced survey and inspection equipment from leading manufacturers worldwide. Our portfolio of Survey Equipment is routinely augmented by the latest technology to ensure we have the solution you need.

Our G-882 magnetometer system is well suited for the detection and mapping of all sizes of ferrous objects. This includes anchors, chains, cables, pipelines, ballast stone and other scattered shipwreck debris, munitions of all sizes (UXO), aircraft, engines and any other object with magnetic expression.

To know more, get in touch with us at

Summary of the Project

On the morning of December 23rd, 2020, Amy Dougherty left her home for work at around 5 AM bracing heavy snow and winds blowing at 60 miles an hour that day. Sadly, Amy never made it to work that day.

Search and rescue teams were instantly deployed along the route she took to work but a series of initial tireless searches, using equipment such as the Hummingbird 360 and an underwater ROV- Video Ray Pro 4, yielded no success. The car Amy drove was only found in late January with the help of a marine magnetometer, deployed on-site near Bristol from where she went missing.

A public celebration of Amy’s life was held on Thursday, the 4th of February at Wight & Comes Funeral Chapel in Watertown, South Dakota.

Client Requirement

Central Divers LLC was contacted in early January by Amy’s family members and friends. The team led by Caleb Gilkerson and Jared Rasmussen arrived at the missing site and thoroughly assessed it. With 3 possible routes and endless miles of water next to the road, it was ascertained that a magnetometer was the right equipment for surveying the area. Following this, the team approached Unique Group’s Houston office for the rental of the G-882 Marine Magnetometer.

Unique Solution Delivered

Amid the extreme winter weather conditions, with the equipment and technical support from Unique Group, the Central Divers LLC team used the marine magnetometer on the ground pulled behind an ATV. They had put about a hundred miles into the search when they suddenly got a hit on something made of metal.

After going back over the area, they then spray painted an ‘X’ on the ice and drilled a hole to drop a camera down. Though visibility was less than 6 inches, the team was able to detect an image of a vehicle tire. The underwater ROV was then deployed, and at this time, it was noted that the Hummingbird 360 side scan had been used twice previously within 25 feet of the vehicle and yielded no image of it.

Finally, a team of divers was deployed to connect a chain to various points on the vehicle to pull it out from the frigid waters.

Benefits Delivered

  • Equipment: A marine magnetometer assisted with this operation when all other equipment failed to yield any successes during the initial stages of search and recovery
  • Expertise: The Unique Group engineering team guided the client over the phone with step-by-step directions on how to set up the magnetometer for use.
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