A drone was used in an emergency situation to save human lives in a direct contact for the first time. The whole event was captured by a camera. The drone rescued two teenage boys of ages 15 and 17 in Australia. Lifeguards are still training to use the technology. The drones were purchased by New South Wales government as a part of its $16 million shark mitigation strategy. When a distressed call came about two swimmers, the technology was put to use instantly by the lifeguards on duty at the time.
The supervisors of lifeguards, Jai Sheridan, was the one who controlled the drone when the call came. He said that the drone was able to locate the swimmers within a minute after the original call came. Sheridan said, “The Little Ripper UAV certainly proved itself today, it is an amazingly efficient piece of lifesaving equipment and a delight to fly. I was able to launch it, fly it to the location, and drop the pod all in about one to two minutes. On a normal day that would have taken our lifeguards a few minutes longer to reach the members of the public.”
The Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW, John Barilaro, told the Sydney times that the lifeguard team’s resourcefulness and use of the technology are very impressive. He said, “It’s quite incredible to see that the NSW Government’s investment in this technology has already resulted in two people having their lives saved.”
Researchers also said that the drones can be used for shark surveillance and it will be very effective for it. Natalie Moltschaniwskyj, the Director of Fisheries Research at the Department of Primary Industries said, “We are excited the technology was able to be put into action today and it’s a great result following more than 18 months of trials that have explored how drones can be used for shark surveillance.” She also said that the government has provided $430,000 to fund a large lifesaving initiative throughout the NSW surf community.
She said, “Research conducted by DPI indicates drones will be an important tool for shark detection on our beaches, and it’s great to see the benefits of our research working at Lennox Head today.”