The confluence of a high-tech helicopter, some creative thinking and the dedication of first responders delivered a six-year-old special needs boy back to his family after he went missing in a rural area of Ontario. A worried mother called 911 as it was getting dark on Sept. 22 to ask for help in finding the boy, who she suspected had wandered into the forest near their Sauble Beach home. Ground searchers were dispatched and spent six fruitless hours combing the neighboring woods to no avail. After an Ontario Provincial Police helicopter arrived overhead the hunt ended successfully within minutes.
Using its sensor suite, the helicopter’s crew located the boy lying next to a stream not far from his house. In the darkness, however, the ground searchers had a hard time locating him. The helicopter crew then used a laser to guide the ground crew, who were wearing night vision goggles, to the boy. He was bundled up for a quick medical check before being returned to his family.