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Vibracore Assassin: the Real Day of the Jackal

Mar 01, 2017

Scene outside the government building on day two of Andre's Algiers radio occupation.

It’s been a couple of years since Andre Rossfelder passed.  Before he died, he shared with me incredible stories of his past life.  I had known Andre because of the sediment vibracoring systems he had invented and we found so practical to use.  Although Andre died recently many governments and individuals wanted him dead long before then.

Now if you don’t have a few minutes to read about Rossfelder’s many brushes with death and his amazing accomplishments, that’s ok.  But if you do, read on.

Cheers,
Ken Hayes



Late April 1961, Algiers
.  Andre Rossfelder had been holed up at the government building with the French Foreign Legion for days, manning a radio broadcast condemning the countless atrocities committed against civilians by the FLN (National Liberation Front) movement in their bloody quest to rid their homeland of all French ties once and for all.

Three days in, the Foreign Legion pulled out and the FLN had the chance they’d been waiting for.  Disguised as police officers, FLN agents stormed the building.  Hearing the doors being bashed in, Andre tucked a folder containing secret documents under his arm and made a beeline for the service elevator.  An FLN agent spotted Rossfelder and plunged a knife deep into his back.  As an unintended victim lay dying on the floor, the agent realized his mistake.  Rossfelder was in fact outside the building already, posing as a member of the press in order to get past security.  A friend had left an MG convertible parked outside for his escape. Realizing their blunder, the FLN gave the order to shoot to kill.  However, it was too late, as Andre made his escape to the peal of screeching tires.

The political turmoil and palpable danger of Algeria in the 1960s probably felt like nothing new to the young Andre, an Algerian-born man of French ancestry who came of age during World War Two.  By that time he had participated in the Battles of Vosges, Alsace and the Bulge, lost fingers to shrapnel, lead a major chapter of the French Resistance, been imprisoned in a centuries-old Algerian dungeon and survived a Vichy firing squad.

While fighting for the French Resistance in Algeria during WWII, Andre was captured by Vichy Loyalist forces.  Mistaken for a Jewish soldier named Cohen, he was sentenced to death by firing squad.  Rather than suffer the indignity of pulling his pants down to prove he’s not Jewish, Andre tells them to shoot him.  Refusing the customary hood, he’s tied to the firing post, staring his would be killers in the eyes.  Luckily, just at this moment allied tanks roll into town and in the ensuing chaos Andre escapes death.

By the end of WWII, Andre was a decorated war hero and part of the upper echelon of French society, counting philosopher Albert Camus, undersea explorer Jacques Cousteau and President Charles de Gaulle as part of his social circle.  A budding entrepreneur, Andre saw a unique opportunity in the Ebensee Hills of Linz, Austria.  The Nazis had built a series of heavily fortified tunnels deep underground to hide an oil refinery that was used to fuel Hitler’s war machine.  Using his connections within the French government, Andre acquired the facility and moved the entire oil refinery to French Algeria.  De Gaulle himself visited the refinery once Andre had it up and running.

However that budding relationship with de Gaulle would soon sour.

After WWII, many colonies demanded their independence. An initially peaceful movement within Algeria declared their desire for independence from France.  Andre, having had Arab friends since a young boy, initially supported Algerian self-governance and saw France’s imperialism as the problem.

In 1954 the French began to pull out of Indo-China.  Emboldened, the movement in Algeria becomes increasingly violent.  A new group called the FLN began amassing great power.  Between 1954 and 1962 the FLN is believed to have killed 16,000 Algerian civilians and made another 13,000 “disappear”.  Anyone with French ancestry or who was believed to have aided the French during the war became a target.

In April 1961, de Gaulle granted Algeria its independence, and took a hands-off approach to who will lead the country going forward.  The FLN is quick to fill the power gap.  Within days a section of the French Foreign Legion stationed in Algeria rebels against de Gaulle and joins ranks with discontented Algerians such as Andre, forming an opposition government that will become known as the OAS (Secret Army Organization), and bringing us back to the beginning of this story with Andre holed up inside a radio station.

Shortly after his escape from the radio station, Andre is forced to flee his homeland.  Eventually he finds a cargo vessel willing to assist him.  Smuggled aboard, Andre would remain hidden in absolute darkness.  There would be no romantic view of his homeland to reminisce…instead he stares into the darkness of a small closet.  His lifelong exile from Algeria, his home, had unwillingly begun.

With the FLN now the legitimate power, the OAS takes their place as the insurgents.  It’s a messy engagement with no clear heroes.

However, Andre and the higher-ups within the OAS believe their true enemy lies elsewhere: French President Charles de Gaulle.  The man who abandoned their country.

The OAS holds a secret tribunal where they find de Gaulle guilty of crimes punishable by death.

They also proclaim who will carry out the execution sentence: Andre Rossfelder.

Andre was to assassinate his former ally, a friend who once fought for the same cause and who also happened to be a major world leader.

To Be Continued…

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Master Inventor and Man of International Intrigue

Feb 23, 2017

Prepared to die: Andre Rossfelder played a key role defending his homeland of French Algeria during WWII’s Operation Torch.

Seventeen, tied to a post, firing squad ready, he was prepared to die for his country, but the fascists never fired.  Andre Rossfelder had dodged what seemed his inevitable demise. A life defining moment for many, for Andre it was just another scrape with death.

Question: What does a device considered to be the most effective technology to collect sediment cores and a bomb designed to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle have in common?

Answer:
They were both the brainchildren of Andre Rossfelder.

The phone would ring.  A familiar, extremely confident voice with a strong French accent was on the other end.  It was Andre.  If there was a most interesting man in the world… I don’t think I would have chosen the actor from those Dos Equis beer commercials.  To me, Andre Rossfelder was “The Most Interesting Man in the World.”

Andre spent one of his lives in La Jolla, California.  It’s there he developed the electro-vibracore for collecting shallow and deep water sediment samples.  For Aqua Survey, using the Rossfelder was a game changer for reliably collecting sediment cores.  Goodbye Piston corer forever.

Aqua Survey purchased 11 vibracoring systems over the years, four directly from Andre along with an inflatable Rossfelder pontoon barge he used with Jacques Cousteau on many of his adventures.

Who was Andre Rossfelder?

He’s been called an Ideologist, Patriot, Marine Geologist, Novelist and Inventor, not to mention, depending on who you asked, an Assassin and Terrorist.

He was a complex and passionate individual.  Yet when you heard him speak so softly and lovingly about his wife whom he adored, it makes you ask the question.

Is this the same man that inspired the “The Day of the Jackal” movies?

How could this be the same man that was selected to assassinate President Charles de Gaulle? 

To get the rest of the story stay tuned…

Look for Part II on February 28.

In the meantime check out this video of us putting one of Andre’s inventions to work.

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What does April 17, 2018, mean to you?

Dec 13, 2016

To hundreds of coal power-plant facilities across the United States, 4/17/18 is D-Day.  The EPA published its final rules (April 17, 2015) governing the disposal of coal combustion residuals produced by electric utilities. Where these impoundments are no longer in use, the rules provide a somewhat less strict set of requirements.

In order to take advantage of the special rules applicable to inactive Coal Combustion Residuals surface impoundments, the final closure must be completed by April 17, 2018. There are no extensions available under the rule. Utilities across the United States need to take steps to comply with these new rules to include developing closure plans for inactive ash impoundment sites to meet this deadline.

At some point, there will be a stampede to meet these requirements.  Aqua Survey stands ready to provide the required surveying, sampling, testing and monitoring of these ash impoundments throughout the United States.  Tom Dolce, Vice President at Aqua Survey observed “Our diverse fleet of vessels, geophysical surveying electronics and coring tools are the perfect toolset to gather the necessary data critical to these kinds of projects’ success.  It’s like we’ve spent the last 40-something years unknowingly preparing just for this.”

Over the years, Aqua Survey’s teams have become extremely efficient at safely mobilizing vessels in and out of hard-to-reach water bodies.  When asked what makes Aqua Survey the perfect team member for this kind of work, Aqua Survey founder Ken Hayes stated, “You can never say you’ve seen it all, but we’ve successfully deployed vessels at a number of unique and challenging locations … from your run-of-the-mill boat launches and crane deployments to areas so remote, vessels had to be trucked in and assembled on-site.  We’re not shrinking violets when it comes to difficult work conditions and challenging projects.”

Dr. Jon Doi, Executive Vice President/Co-Owner of Aqua Survey, added, “Super Storm Sandy put us to the test back in 2013. We were able to survey hundreds and hundreds of debris-strewn waterways and collected over 2,900 sediment cores in less than a month.  Now is the time to avoid the stampede.”

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Priceless Art, Old Cowhides & Mud

Apr 13, 2016

Above: Former “Brownfields Site” – Brooklyn Botanic Garden.

About 20 years ago, we had a delicate job to do: Carry in our vibracoring equipment and sampling platform past centuries old Japanese statues and then collect sediment cores amongst priceless snow lanterns in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden’s Japanese Hill-and-Pond Garden.

Having been an ash dump throughout the 1800’s, this unsightly moonscape had been repurposed in 1914 into the oldest Japanese-style garden in the United States.  Unwittingly, the ash dump had become one of New York City’s earliest environmental success stories.

The job had one more special requirement: eighty years earlier cowhide had been used as the liner for the pond.  It was essential we did not core through this antique pond liner and possibly drain the pond.

We are happy to report the sampling job was completed without damaging any art treasures and/or puncturing the pond’s liner.  Whether in New York City or halfway around the world, many of our sediment vibracoring projects require us to come up with unique sampling solutions.

Aqua Survey was founded in 1975 specifically to collect water and sediment samples and over forty years later we still are.  Our staff collectively has hundreds of years’ experience in getting our clients the samples they need—safely, professionally, on time and on budget.

Questions about sediment sampling?

Call Aqua Survey today. 

908-788-8700

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Dec 22, 2015

Follow an active criminal investigation as it happens in real time.  Premieres January 5th.

View sneak peak here.

Key evidence is missing and a possible killer is on the loose.  What happens when you pit geophysical wit against the mind of a killer?  Due to an iron-clad non-disclosure agreement, we can’t tell you how that ended up, but trust me, sometimes life is stranger than fiction.

Aqua Survey was recently involved in Season 1 of a new Discovery Channel series.  Called the “Killing Fields,” the show will explore seemingly idyllic locations across the country where bodies are dumped and criminal evidence hidden.  Hired to utilize the latest advancements in geophysical tools, Aqua Survey sent an eight person team to forensically investigate several areas associated with high-profile cold case murders.

If serial killers, pschopaths and diving in alligator-infested water weren’t enough, while staying at a hotel near a crime scene there was an attempted murder in the room next door to one of our staff.  We’d like to commend Captain Mark Padover, who when awakened by gunfire, bravely responded to a woman’s 2:30 AM pained wail for help.  Mark may have very well saved her from bleeding to death.

“Killing Fields” premiere’s Tuesday, January 5 at 10/9c PM on the Discovery Channel.  It is produced by Sirens Media LLC, a Leftfield Entertainment company. We will let you know more details when we can.

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Marine Geophysics Team One Comes Home

Aug 26, 2015

Our Marine Geophysics Team One (MGTO) has just returned from a several month deployment.  One of their specialties is using our high-powered electromagnetic metal detection system ROV (Remote Operated Vehicle).  We use advanced geophysics to locate dumped, abandoned, secreted, lost and sometimes forgotten metal objects such as:

Treasure (Spanish Galleons along Florida’s Treasure Coast),
Weapons (Amityville top-brake 38) and
UXO (unexploded bombs in the Caspian Sea),
Autos (Passaic River, NJ). 

Using one of our ROV geophysics platforms allows us to survey large areas without leaving a human footprint behind among delicate corals or in toxic sediment. 

For more information on how one of our ROV systems can support your project, please .  Hayes will be happy to guide you to the correct survey solution to meet your projects safety and survey goals.

View the video here.”>

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The Lunch and Learn Season is upon us.

Aug 06, 2015

ASI’s last Lunch & Learn Tour took us to dozens of clients nationally.  The positive feedback made the thousands of miles worthwhile.

This year we are offering a new collection of short videos that will show you what we have been up to for the past year.  As always, we will buy pizza for your team.  During our last tour season we were not able to visit with all of the folks who requested one.  To try to better manage our Lunch & Learn Tour calendar and content we are asking you to:

Request a few different weeks between October and March that would work for your team.  (Some dates are available before October. Please inquire for availability.)
Let us know which of the following services we offer you would like us to cover:

Underwater UXO (bomb) Surveying
Terrestrial UXO Surveying
Underwater Treasure Surveying
The use of Geophysical Surveying in Crime Scene Investigations
Drone Site inspection and Videography
Marine/Aquatic Geophysical Surveying
Airborne Geophysical Surveying
Sediment and Water Column Sampling
Sediment Ocean Disposal Toxicological Studies
Sediment Upland Disposal Contaminant Studies
Sediment, Water Column and Product Toxicological Studies
Screening Potable Water for Weapons of Mass Destruction Contaminants
NCP Oil Spill Control and GLP Product Testing
ASI Humanitarian Projects

We look forward to sharing a slice of what we enjoy doing here at Aqua Survey with you and listening to what your needs are.

Thank you,

Ken Hayes

President
Aqua Survey, Inc.


If you’d like a Lunch and Learn before October, we have few dates open.  Contact us for more information.

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