HIMROD, N.Y. (WETM) — Daniel Manganaro was a brother, son, wrestling standout and future orthopedic surgeon who tragically lost his life after a canoeing accident on Seneca Lake in April.
The New York State Police Underwater Recovery Team found Daniel’s body nearly a month after the accident, but the search was far from easy.
“That first day we were actually scanning from 25 feet to 100 feet of water because we were under the impression that they were actually trying to swim towards the Showboat Hotel on the west side of the lake,” said Trooper Donald Will, Head of the NYSP URT (Troop E). “We finally realized that they were in anywhere from 500 to 600 feet. The challenge was getting the sonar unit down to that depth.”
A sonar unit uses sound propagation to navigate objects under the surface of the water. The unit is dragged behind the boat and scans both left and right anywhere from 10 to 400 feet.
“The side-scan sonar unit is only one tool out of several tools that we actually use,” Will said. “And they all have to work together to make this successful.”
In the process of searching for Daniel’s body, the URT came across a problem. The cable holding the sonar unit wasn’t long enough.
“The first day, we got it down to 520 feet. Then we worked on getting it down to 600 feet, but then we ran into the problem that we could only go half a knot—if that—an hour. So we were basically crawling and we weren’t really accomplishing too much,” Will said. “That information was given to the family. The search was gonna be basically called off until we could actually get a longer cable. We were going to requisition one through Albany and then the family stepped in, inquired about the cost, and never hesitated—saying, ‘we’ll buy it.'”
The new 900-foot fiber-optic cable made it possible for the URT to cover every square foot of the concentrated search area.
“Once we got that cable, it actually allowed us to go from a half a knot upmost to two knots an hour. So it was huge—not only from a boat operator’s perspective but also from mine because now we can overlap our scans so we know, basically, we covered every square foot in a given area out there,” Will said. “We’re very grateful for it. Not only did it help us recover Dan, but it will also help other families in the future and that was [the Manganaro family’s] main goal.”
Once Daniel’s body was located on sonar, it was time to bring in the Remotely Operated Vehicle (ROV).
“We have two of them throughout the state and that was actually the tool that we used to recover Dan,” Will said. “We did put a downline from the surface to the bottom, about 45 feet away. So that day that we did recover him, we tethered the ROV to that downline so we knew exactly when the ROV hit the bottom. It released itself from that downline and basically we directed it right to Dan.”
“It worked flawlessly,” said Trooper Greg Eberl, Senior Diver for the NYSP URT (Troop D). “I mean, it’s pitch black down there at 600 feet. It’s got lights on it, cameras, moveable cameras. Everything just worked out perfectly.”
After Daniel’s body was recovered from the lake at 580 feet, the 900-foot cable purchased by the Manganaro family was referred to as “the team’s cape.”
“When the family bought the cable, I picked it up from their residence and on the outside of the packaging box it said, ‘This is the DAN Cable: Deepwater Aid Needed,” Will said. “We’re gonna keep that name with that cable. We’re only going to use that cable for incidents in deep water.”
All in honor of Daniel—whose life left an everlasting impact on many.