Divers and other FBI personnel are in East Falls searching the Schuylkill River near the Falls Bridge.
On Monday afternoon, spokeswoman Carrie Adamowski confirmed that members of the FBI’s Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team and agents from the Philadelphia field office are in the process of searching the river underneath the Falls Bridge.
Adamowski said that the investigators from the New York-based team were called to that site for a specific reason, but wouldn’t elaborate about what divers were searching for.
Early Monday afternoon, divers were seen exiting the river and returning to a staging area adjacent to the inbound lanes of Kelly Drive, where other FBI agents and officers from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Marine Unit drew the attention of numerous motorists and users of the recreation trail.
As part of the Underwater Evidence Program, the Underwater Search and Evidence Response Team (USERT) program is under the aegis of the FBI’s Forensic Response department.
According to the FBI’s website, USERTs are “comprised of trained divers who are capable of using sophisticated equipment to conduct traditional underwater searches to locate and recover evidence and human remains.”
There are currently four USERT teams, which are located in the Los Angeles, Miami, New York, and Washington Field Offices.
Adamowski was unsure how long USERT investigators would be present, but said the divers would be searching the murky waters of the Schuylkill River as long as necessary.
“It’s a play-it-by-ear situation,” she said.