Drone Helps Rescue Teens Caught In Rip Tide

Katrina Barker
January 19, 2018

The world's first drone water rescue took place in Australia this week after two teenagers were in life-threatening danger after getting stuck in the ocean.

According to the BBC, "The swimmers, aged 15-17, had got into difficulties off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales (NSW)", when a "member of the public spotted them struggling in heavy surf about 700m (2,300ft) offshore".

Barilaro said the state government had invested A$430,000 (S$454,000) in a trial of drone technology in December.

John Barilaro, the deputy premier of New South Wales state, told Reuters that it was the first rescue of its kind.

Lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan was piloting the device when the alarm was raised.

"The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly", he told the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. Lifeguards put the drone in the air and moved it towards the swimmers and dropped an inflatable pod into the water, where it expanded. Two kids got caught up in some nasty swells and the lifeguard was able to fly the drone out to them and drop in some flotation devices. Ben Franklin, parliamentary secretary for Northern New South Wales, said the whole process only took 70 seconds, compared to the six minutes it usually takes a lifeguard to rescue swimmers.

While such a rescue would be quite a feat for anyone - robot or otherwise - it's the speed with which the drone was able to deploy and perform the rescue that is particularly impressive. "While some are created to spot sharks, others feature flotation pods, alarms and loudspeakers".

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

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