SPECIALIST sonar equipment will be used during a three-day underwater search for a missing Golcar man.
Steven Cooper had just celebrated his 47th birthday when he went missing in Scotland on January 21 2008. His car was found near Loch Laggan, which is 22km long, 1km wide and 52m deep.
His family have been dedicated in their efforts to find him, even if it means locating his body.
And on Monday they and West Yorkshire Police divers will travel to Loch Laggan where an underwater search will take place on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
In a briefing with the Cooper family and the Examiner, Inspector Andy Leonard outlined the search plans.
Insp Leonard said: “His car was found 50m away from a culvert, which comes down from the mountain side and straight into the loch.
“We think in a despondent state of mind the culvert would have been a feature which drew his attention. We think parking there was the most natural place to go.
“Missing from the car were his keys and a whisky bottle. Around the edging point there is a cove – we’ll look there for the keys and the bottle.”
The police search will cover the area of the loch where Steven’s car was found. LiquaVision, a diving company employed by the Cooper family, will search other areas.
Insp Leonard added: “Three days is a long time for a dive.
“There will be six people with one diving at a time, a back up and an assistant supervisor. Then there’s a second diver, their back-up and supervisor.
“They’ll go up and down using the sonar equipment. On the shore there’ll be a screen which others will watch and offer directions if they see anything of interest on the screen.”
Superintendent Ged McManus added: “In terms of where the starting point is, the culvert is the best place. It’s not just guess work, the team base their predictions on years of experience of searches.
“They always work on the greatest probability and they’re fairly accurate in their predictions.”
But he told the family to prepare themselves for a raft of emotions during the search.
“You should prepare yourselves for false starts. There could be deer or other animals in there. There might be other bodies we’re not aware of,” he said. “It will be an emotional rollercoaster.
“But we all want for this to come to some conclusion, even it’s closure for you, the family.”
Steven’s mother Margaret, along with her partner William Stanger and another son Christian, will be at the loch during the search.
Sister Trish will stay at home in Brockholes.
Margaret said: “There are so many unanswered questions, bits that I can’t piece together.
“But I’m aware they might find something but it could be a deer that’s gone in there. But it’s what we’ve wanted for so long.”