We were asked to remove a 600 HP vertical motor and the 13 foot long turbine pump that it couples to, from a cooling tower water basin. The motor was removed without incident, but when we lifted the pump out, instead of the expected 13 feet, we only got 5 feet of pump! The pump had actually broken in two! We probed the water, using 8 foot long poles, and could not feel anything. And with caramel colored water in the cooling tower, nothing was visible. The customer had no way to get it out, and even if a new pump were to be installed, the pieces of the old pump had to be removed. They asked us to come up with a plan. Cue in a diving team!
Divers check, Amy Fletcher for safety check, a crane check, cooling towers off check, Time to go fishing! The diver wore a wet suit, with the hard helmet that you think of as deep sea diving, that allowed him verbal communication with the dive master in a nearby trailer. The dive master in the trailer was communicating via radio with the ground control man at the point of water entry for the diver. He was then directing the crane operator to raise and lower the hook as the diver needed with hand signals. The diver entered the water and had zero visibility. Everything he had to do was by feel. The water was 15 feet deep. He located the pump assembly, rigged a couple of choker straps onto it so it would hang vertically and could be lifted out of the hole.
Once the pump was out of the water, the diver entered the water again, and started picking up debris from all 6 sections of the cooling tower, returning to the point that the crane hook was in the water. All of this was without the ability to see anything. He found things like a piece of broken pump shaft, intake screens, bolts and other hardware, and large pieces of plastic that were distorted due to having been pulled into the pumps at some point.
Once the diving was done, the equipment was loaded onto our truck for transportation to the shop. The customer is happy Horner was able to take care of this situation for them. We now have all the pieces of a broken pump to piece back together, and we have one more arrow in our quiver of available services that we can assist our customers with.