Drone Used In Surf Rescue


Australian lifeguards used a drone to drop a flotation device to some swimmers in trouble and are claiming a world first for the resulting rescue. Two teenage boys got caught in a riptide off Lennox Head in New South Wales and were being pounded by surf a half mile offshore when lifeguards were alerted on Thursday. Instead of hitting the surf for a punishing jet-ski trip out to help the kids, the lifeguards took their newly acquired quadcopter out of the box and sent it in search of the swimmers.

The aircraft, which recorded video the whole way, took a little more than a minute to reach the tiring teens and dropped a self-inflating rescue device right between them. The kids grabbed hold and were able to make their way to shore. The lifeguards got the drone the morning of the rescue. Surf Life Saving NSW, which runs the lifeguard service, said it would have taken up to six minutes to reach the boys in a conventional rescue. “I’m just so happy that it was a really good outcome and these two boys were able to make it to shore safely,” Jai Sheridan, the lifeguard who flew the drone, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation. “Stuff can happen in a matter of seconds out in the surf. It’s ever-changing.”