LIFESAVING diving equipment that could be used to track missing people underwater will be trialled at Gartmorn Dam.

Beneath The Surface, a voluntary group from Lancashire who specialise in underwater rescue, have been announced as UK ambassadors for the AquaEye technology.

As reported by the Advertiser, the group previously aided Police Scotland in their search for Greig Stoddart who went missing in Gartmorn Dam on Christmas Eve alongside Ian McBurney.

The police recovered Ian’s body within two days, while it took three weeks before Greig’s body was found, with Beneath The Surface stepping in to help on request of his family.

Now, Canadian company VodaSafe have named Beneath The Surface as the first UK ambassadors for the AquaEye technology.

The group will be officially presented with the equipment at a launch ceremony at Gartmorn Dam, set for the weekend of March 16 and 17, which will be attended by members of Greig’s family.

Greig’s cousin, Thomas Stoddart, has been campaigning extensively for the wider use of the technology since the tragic accident, and described it as a fitting legacy for Greig.

Speaking to the Advertiser, he said: “I’ve been like a dog with a bone since Greig got recovered and wanted to make a change.

“Getting this bit of kit for Beneath The Surface is going to be the start of something different and the story is only beginning.

“Beneath The Surface are the UK’s first ambassadors for AquaEye so if it wasn’t for Greig, none of this wouldn’t have happened, so this is his legacy in a way.

“It’s turned from a tragic accident to a legacy for Greig and if we can make change, then let’s go and make the change.”

AquaEye, provided by VodaSafe, is an advanced sonar underwater scanner that employs sonar technology and artificial intelligence to identify human bodies underwater and in waters with poor visibility.

This equipment is the first of its kind and allows rescuers to get a very quick overview of up to 8000 metres squared of water area.

Phil Jones, team leader for Beneath The Surface, explained that AquaEye will go far in allowing them to undertake more search and rescue operations, potentially saving more lives as well.

He said: “We were contacted by VodaSafe and they’ve asked us to be the first UK ambassadors for AquaEye.

“They’re going to train us on it in the hope that it helps more people. They’re presenting us with the equipment at Gartmorn Dam, training us on it so we know how to fully use it and give us the best chance of success.

“This is an additional resource for us to use and it should speed things up a lot, make things a lot safer for our divers and reduce chances of human error.

“It could be used to speed searches up and ensure safety for our divers and it could hopefully become a life saving tool as well if we find people quick enough.”

Members of the public will be allowed to watch the demonstration at Gartmorn Dam.