The Crazy Accurate Thermal Images That Saw Dzokhar Tsarnaev Through A Boat Tarp

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.

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

The shot above gives the cleanest look taken by state police's Air Wing; you can see Tsarnaev 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.

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.

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

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

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

[MSP via TPM]

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