In a first, drone rescues swimmers off Australia beach

Audrey Hill
January 20, 2018

The rescue with the drone took only 70 seconds, whereas a lifeguard rescue would have taken about six minutes, according to Northern NSW Parliamentary Secretary Ben Franklin, .

He said New Zealand did not have the same financial backing as Australian life savers.

One of the boys, Monty Greenslade, told Channel Seven it was "definitely a sigh of relief" when the drone reached them.

A livesaving drone similar to the one used in the rescue.

The swimmers, aged 15-17, had got into difficulties off the coast of Lennox Head, New South Wales (NSW).

The boys, aged 17 and 18, were spotted by a member of the public in risky three-metre swells.

Piloting the drone was lifeguard supervisor Jai Sheridan, who was able to locate the swimmers within minutes of the initial distress call. The drone's on-board camera recorded the sequence: from location, to drop, to the swimmers' grateful journey to the shore.

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The two grabbed onto it and made it to shore with the help of the waves.

The NSW Government has committed $430,000 (£247,000) towards the drone technology.

The New South Wales government invested A$430,000 ($340,000) past year in a fleet of drones to patrol for sharks in the northern beaches of the state.

It was the first rescue of its kind, Josh Barilaro, the state's deputy premier, said. "Never before has a drone, fitted with a flotation device been used to rescue swimmers like this". Beachgoers noticed the surfers were struggling with 3-meter (10-foot) swells and alerted the lifeguards.

Mr Sheridan said the difference in response time was critical.

A yellow flotation device dropped from a flying drone spread near two teenagers caught in a riptide in heavy seas off the Australian coast.

Kelvin Morton, the manager for the drone project, added to ABC that the project itself is a world-first.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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