Vote 2020 graphic
Everything you need to know about and expect during
the most important election of our lifetimes

The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)

There was no small amount of technology that went into the capture of Boston Marathon bombing suspect Dzokhar Tsarnaev, but perhaps none was more impressive than the helicopter-mounted, forward-looking infrared camera that confirmed once and for all that there was someone hiding in a boat in Watertown, Massachusetts. And that he was almost certainly Dzokhar Tsarnaev.

Advertisement

Here are the pictures that sky-high camera took, just released a few hours ago by the Massachusetts State Police. They're incredible.

Advertisement

The shot above gives the cleanest look taken by state police's Air Wing, after being tipped off by the boat's owner that there was a man smeared with blood (Tsarnaev) hiding inside. You can see Tsarnaev's legs extended almost to the wheel, and his right arm outstretched. The boat itself looks almost like an X-ray. And that's no surprise, given the capabilities of the technology involved. As we wrote last night, forward-looking infrared (FLIR) cameras are equipped with special sensors that can detect infrared radiation, such as that caused by a heat source. Specifically, in this case, caused by a heat source belonging to a human body.

Following are four additional pictures taken by the cops' thermal eye in the sky, each showing off just how impressive—and invaluable—the technology was on a chillingly tense Friday night.


At 7:19 pm, the helicopter takes an early pass over the boat. From this angle, it's difficult to tell what, if anything, is inside.

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)
Advertisement

In this shot, taken at 7:22 pm, a heat signature confirms that there's a person under the tarp, and that he's likely alive. That glowing object is Tsarnaev.

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)
Advertisement

At 7:35, the camera is switched back to normal mode to monitor the removal of the tarp by the advance team.

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)
Advertisement

Quick progress was made; by 7:36 the tarp was removed enough for an unobstructed look at Tsarnaev.

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)
Advertisement

And just for fun, here's a look at the helicopter the camera was attached to.

Illustration for article titled The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through a Boat Tarp (Updated)
Advertisement

Update:Police have now released full raw video taken by the FLIR camera:

Advertisement

[MSP, TPM via Digg]

Advertisement

Share This Story

Get our newsletter

DISCUSSION

MAKE2 Mifune

I'd be interested in hearing about the kind of technology being used to keep Dzokhar alive. I really really hope he lives long enough that the victims can have closure and we can have answers about their motivations and the extent of the threat.

I'm mostly amazed at how two young men, with probably just a few thousand dollars worth of supplies for weapons and components for explosives, were able to completely paralyze one of the larger American metropolitan cities for an entire day, mobilizing an entire police force, as well as several tiers of government security agencies. That the economic impact of these two criminals could likely hit one billion dollars... it's mind boggling. I felt incredibly relieved that this guy was caught, and the other killed, but I can't say I shared the joy and jubilation that went around on the news of capture. Everything about this feels like a failure of the highest order, particularly if this was truly an act of terrorism, with foreign influence. Obama's address seemed to acknowledge this; his words may have said otherwise, but the look on his face said it all. Sorry, don't mean to be a downer, but this shit has been on my mind too much since Monday.