The Navy Mobile Dive and Salvage Unit 2 of Little Creek, Virginia, will search for bodies at the disaster scene and move tons of rubble from the bridge that collapsed into the Mississippi River on August 1.
The team of 18 divers and 6 support crew have arrived. Their gear arrived before dawn on Tuesday, and they immediately entered the Mississippi River to access the area. The divers returned to the riverby late morning, and began the process of removing concrete, rebar and other debris. The FBI also has a forensic dive team on site.
The Navy Divers are tethered to above-ground oxygen tanks, enabling them to stay in the water longer than conventional divers. The bring with them heavy-duty equipment to cut through the wreckage, and sophisticated sonar to scan for bodies.
Navy divers have been the salvage and recovery teams for TWA Flight 800 (where they made over 700 dives), the Shuttle Columbia and the recovery of the Civil War ship the Monitor. They were also active after Hurricane Katrina.
This is an elite group of people who quietly do amazing jobs and receive little credit or notoriety. Most people know about Navy Divers because of Carl Brashear and the movie Men of Honor.