Robotic cameras are the latest weapon deployed in the search for Robbie Reiner – and that’s no gimmick.

Police called off their search of the Nith River for the missing five-year-old Monday, saying the only areas left to search were areas unsafe for divers to access.

Hearing that news, William Bolton – who has a search-and-rescue background and was assisting in the search from the beginning – began to think of Deep Trekker.

Based in Waterloo, Deep Trekker manufactures equipment for deep-water exploration.

Company president Sam MacDonald says she’d been following media reports about Reiner since his Boxing Day disappearance, and was happy to lend a hand when Bolton suggested it.

The pair arrived at the river, just outside the Reiners’ New Hamburg home, Thursday morning, and spent much of the day searching an area police weren’t able to reach with the help of a piece of Deep Trekker equipment.

“It’s a camera which is housed inside a remote-controlled submarine,” MacDonald said.

The images shot from the camera are then sent back to a remote control above the surface in real-time, allowing MacDonald to guide the submarine through the river.

Police said there were many areas they couldn’t reach due to damage from last week’s ice storm, and what MacDonald saw under the water appeared to confirm that.

“We’ve seen a lot of brush and a lot of debris,” she said.

Additionally, some areas that appeared navigable earlier in the week had since frozen over – making any search efforts more difficult.

Reiner wasn’t found Thursday, but Bolton and MacDonald say they’ll be back as long as they can be of use.

“We’re going to basically be out here until we either get closure of some form or we’ve exhausted all (options),” he says.

Bill Reiner, Robbie’s father, says he’s grateful for their efforts.

“For these people to come out and bring this machine … that’s a godsend for us,” he says.

“There’s no way they could have got a (person) underneath there safely.”