JW Fishers Mfg. has been producing Side Scan Sonars (SSS) since 1992, when the first thermal printer SSS was introduced. The original SSS came standard with a 17” thermal printer which allowed the operator to display the ocean floor on thin thermal imaging paper. JW Fishers expanded the technology and moved towards software-driven solutions in the mid-2000’s, allowing customers to discard the heavy paper-based printer in favor of a computer-based graphical user interface. Today, Fishers’ SONAR VIEW software provides the operator with complete control over the system’s operating parameters. Users may choose between 10 different scan ranges and 8 color schemes. With a GPS unit connected, position coordinates are automatically captured with the side scan data. Operators simply hover the computer mouse over a target and the GPS position coordinates are displayed on the screen.
The James River, a tributary of the Missouri River, is over 700 miles long and drains an area of over 20,000 square miles to North and South Dakota. A little over 70% of this area is located in South Dakota. River conditions vary across the states, with some parts almost still while others send rushing waters at over 10 knots across the state. Floods often occur after snowmelt or heavy rains, as water easily breaches the James' low banks, and such floods tend to cover a significant portion of the floodplain.
In March of 2019, authorities reported that a 2000 Mack CH600 garbage truck was northbound on SD-37 near the James River bridge when the vehicle left the roadway. Based on the initial evidence, investigators believed there may have been an equipment failure. The vehicle went through the guardrail, vaulted an embankment, and landed in the James River. Authorities began searching the James River in Sanborn County after discovering a damaged guardrail along SD-37 near the James River bridge.
A statement from the Department of Public Safety noted that several state and local agencies assisted in the search and recovery efforts. While any loss of life is always incredibly tragic, JW Fishers is immensely proud of its small part in the recovery efforts and in bringing closure to these two grieving families.