Your skin crawls and your stomach is in knots, as you wipe the sweat from your brow and then… you plunge headlong into a 10 ft. black hole, not knowing what lies inside.
Vermin? Noxious fumes? Will it fill with water or run out of air before you reach the end and taste freedom? Imagine what 12 desperate prisoners at the Eastern State Penitentiary were feeling and seeing on April 3, 1945, when they made their way through a 24-inch wide escape tunnel. Famous bank robber Willie Sutton was among the daring group and credited with planning the escape. Now you can see for yourself as modern equipment such as robot crawlers and confined-space zoom cameras give you an insider’s view of the tunnel!
With names like ROVVER and QuickView, these futuristic cameras from inspection specialist Envirosight LLC travel into dark places where humans cannot safely venture. And this escape tunnel, designed and built by prison plaster worker Clarence Klinedinst, would certainly qualify as a non-human environment. “Envirosight excels at viewing inaccessible areas. Recently, we got the call to inspect hidden regions within the Lincoln Memorial,” said Richard Lindner, Envirosight President. “It’s always interesting and you never know what you might find.”
“It’s incredible that equipment used for pipe inspections can show us exactly what the prisoners were experiencing in that tunnel,” said Sean Kelly, Program Director, Eastern State Penitentiary Historic Site. The QuickView is a zoom camera on an extension pole that descends 18 ft. and casts bright illumination. The controls are all operated from a safe distance, with video transmitted to large LCD monitors. ROVVER is a robotic, wheeled mini-vehicle designed to travel on its own into tunnels and pipes, controlled by a handheld remote pendant. It has an illuminated zoom camera that tilts and pans, capturing vivid color video. So if any prisoner dropped something in the tunnel, it’s possible the ROVVER could find it.
Despite the risks and the dangers, the 12 prisoners emerged out of the tunnel at Fairmount Avenue and 22nd Street. Most of the men were caught within minutes, perhaps after a brief moment of exhilaration, similar to the escape scene in Shawshank Redemption. Klinedinst who had only two years left to serve, received 10 more years for his efforts.
See the amazing images captured by the ROVVER and QuickView operated by the folks from Envirosight Inc.(Randolph, NJ) and displayed on-screen on Saturday April 1, 2006 11:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
About Envirosight LLC
Randolph, New Jersey-based Envirosight, LLC provides video pipeline inspection solutions to municipalities, contractors, departments of transportation, and civil/environmental engineers. Envirosight is committed to ongoing innovation, delivering products that enhance user productivity and inspection detail. Envirosight serves customers through a trained network of regional sales partners who deliver localized support and expertise with rapid turnaround. All Envirosight technical employees hold NASSCO PACP certification. Visit Envirosight online at www.envirosight.com