Volume 29, Issue 4 (October 1984)
The Motion of Floating and Submerged Objects in the Chattahoochee River, Atlanta, GA
Two mannikins, one designed to float and one designed to sink, were used to examine the ways in which human bodies move in a river. The floating mannikin was used to examine the movement of a body floating downstream on the surface and to determine the flow patterns of surface currents through bends in the Chattahoochee River in Atlanta, GA. The submerged mannikin was constructed to have a specific gravity of a deceased person (over a range of specific gravities) and was used to examine the motion of a body immediately upon entering the water. The submerged mannikin also was used to examine motion along the bottom of the river. Floating objects near each bank of the Chattahoochee River were found to remain along their respective banks as they moved downstream through the bends in the river. No mechanisms of transport from one bank to the other in the bends was found. The movement of a submerged dummy only occurred at very high river flows. The dummy remained stationary at the place where it reached the bottom for tests over a wide range of specific gravities and a moderate range of flow levels. A discussion of the river conditions (for example, bottom topography, bottom composition, flow rates, and hydraulics) is included. The results of the experiments offer initial guidelines and principles that can be used by officials and agencies involved in the search, rescue, and recovery of bodies in most rivers.