Hydroid Inc., a Bourne-based manufacturer of autonomous underwater vehicles, or AUVs, said that one of its AUVs has discovered the wreckage of a 2003 helicopter crash in icy waters near Svalbard, a group of Norwegian islands in the Arctic Ocean.
The helicopter’s crew escaped alive, but the wreck had not been seen since it sank, said Hydroid, a subsidiary of Norway-based Kongsberg Maritime and the maker of REMUS AUVs.
The wreckage was discovered by a REMUS 100 deployed by Mark Moline, a California Polytechnic University professor. Moline, who is also currently a Fulbright Arctic Chair at the University Centre in Svalbard, has been using the REMUS to research climate-related changes in Adventfjorden, or Advent Bay, which is located near one of Svalbard’s islands.
When he downloaded the images from an oceanographic survey this September, Moline discovered that the REMUS had photographed the missing helicopter wreckage.
“The wreck is located in shallow waters close to the north shore of the Adventfjorden, where bigger boats are unable to travel,” Moline said in a statement. “But one reason the REMUS is so useful in our research is its ability to navigate through difficult undersea terrain.”
The REMUS 100 that Moline has been using weighs about 80 pounds and is just over five feet long.
According to Hydroid, Moline is now hopeful that the REMUS he has been using may be able to locate a German plane that crashed in the Adventfjorden during World War II.
Earlier this year, Hydroid announced that a REMUS was used by the Royal Netherlands Navy to find a missing World War I German submarine off the Dutch coast in 2009.
In the spring, two larger Hydroid REMUS AUVs helped French investigators retrieve a key component of one of the flight-data recorders from an Air France jet that had crashed into the Atlantic Ocean in 2009.