CHARLOTTE COUNTY- A valuable tool in fighting brush fires in Charlotte County is sitting at the bottom of a lake at the east end of the county.
Dive team members from the Charlotte County Sheriffs Office spent the day diving in a massive rock quarry in eastern Charlotte County on Tuesday looking for a lost piece of equipment.
Sheriffs office spokesman Bob Carpenter said the aviation unit was called out over the weekend to help fight a fire: "Over the weekend we were fighting a fire down off Bermont and 31 and the fire department called us in we have the bambi bucket."
The Bambi bucket is used by the Sheriffs office to dump large amounts of water on brush fires.
The bucket is lowered into water sources and filled, then it is dumped on burning areas via helicopter.
It was a trip to this rock quarry where something went wrong. "Something had happened; it ejected into the lake so we lost it," Carpenter said.
The bucket, which is valued at about $25,000, is now somewhere at the bottom of a massive reservoir, but officials expressed hope that it would be recovered soon.
The sheriff's office does have a backup bucket so residents do not need to worry about not having the resources to fight brush fires in the area.
Right now investigators are not sure how the unit became detached from the Bell Huey chopper that was carrying it.
The system can be ejected by the pilot from the cockpit, but officials at the Sheriff's say that they are waiting to recover the bucket to see if there was some kind of mechanical failure involved.
"We got a lot to look at here to see what caused it," Carpenter said.
WINK News contacted the manufacturer of the bambi bucket and they told us that since 1981 when the started making the buckets, they have never heard of a bucket falling completely off of a helicopter due to mechanical failure of the device